NEIL BONNAR: Life was simpler when supporters were football's only real experts
11:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
THE buzz which surrounded the transfer deadline day made me wonder if many people would notice if we dispensed with the actual playing of football all together.
Compared with the discussion that takes place about the action we see on a Saturday afternoon, the talk about what goes on off the field is immense.
Many years ago, all we had to talk about was what we saw on the field of play.
Apart from the World Cup and the finals of the FA Cup and European Cup, there was no live football and, therefore, no panels of experts giving in-depth analysis.
The punditry on the highlights shows was basic to say the least compared with today.
So all we had to talk about was the action we saw at the ground on a Saturday afternoon – and it was always a Saturday afternoon.
Life was so much simpler then. You went to the football and discussed the performance of the players and the team without the help of what we are now obliged to call “expert analysis”.
If you didn’t have the football, you had nothing.
Now it’s almost as if the football gets in the way.
Thanks (if that’s the right word) to the onset of saturation coverage of what happens behind the scenes in football, everyone seems to be an expert on the intricacies of how agents, technical and sporting directors, foreign ownership and Financial Fair Play works.
And all that mass of knowledge bubbles up and explodes in a volcanic frenzy of discussion twice a year on transfer deadline day.
The level of emotion it arouses is on a par to any experienced at a game.
Take Wanderers on Monday’s deadline day for example. Their failure to bring in anyone sparked something akin to the seven stages of grief on Twitter.
The media have jumped on it, including us here at The Bolton News.
We run a live blog on our website reporting and discussing transfer news and speculation as it concerns Bolton Wanderers, and it attracts an incredibly high number of visitors.
The BBC apparently had millions following their live coverage.
Sky have turned the day into something approaching a national institution with the over-the-top dramatic style of their coverage, and this year the BBC put together a special Match of the Day highlights package of the day’s developments.
Some will say the appetite is there for this kind of thing, others that football is eating itself.