Why Sky Sports is 21st Century Porn

There was a time not so very long ago that if a man, young or old, wanted to see a woman in a state of undress, he would have to venture forth from his house, find a woman, and get wooing. It took time, it took effort, more than likely there would be some expense involved, and there was always the dangerous possibility that you might fall in love along the way. Nowadays this simply isn’t the case – in my final year at school I helped run a workshop for younger students struggling with their literacy. One 12 year old called Mario (at least that’s what we called him, I can’t remember why exactly) was too distracted by the ability to bring up a pair of boobs at will on his smartphone that he simply didn’t take in anything I had to say about the wonders of the semi-colon. His loss really.

What does this have to do with Sky Sports? Well, everything really. There was a time, not so very long ago, that if a man, young or old wanted to see a fine goal scored, hear chants about their club’s Lithuanian centre-half or see a Cruyff-turn leave a full back dead on the ground he would have to venture forth from his house, find a club, and get supporting. It took time, it took effort, more than likely there would be some expense involved, but there was always the dangerous possibility that you might fall in love along the way. In love with the ground, in love with the team, in love with the way the club fits into the life of the city every other weekend.

Today, it’s eminently possible to follow a team and never have set foot in their ground once. Which of course doesn’t necessarily preclude one’s ability to support said team – I’ve never travelled abroad to see England lose but that doesn’t mean I’m not, to use the proper World Cup parlance, gutted, when they do. It’s just a bit sad – like a teenager hooked on pornography who’s never even kissed a girl.

But more than likely Messi won’t be cantering down your local team’s turf any time soon, so what option other than to get the next best experience – happily going for the visual of television over the real, just like our smut addicted teenager. It’s certainly cheaper than heading out to Barcelona just to see the man himself – he might even have an off day, but here we enter into the realm of my initial paragraph’s domain…

Who’s to blame? Well the BBC’s wonderfully candid Cost of Football points the blame fairly clearly at English clubs. Arsenal’s cheapest season ticket costs over £1000 – what choice does the young man have but to turn to the second hand experience of television? And what kind of relationships will clubs foster with a generation of fans unable to actually attend matches in the way their ancestors did? It’s a testament to how little the powers that be care about this question that ideas like the ’39th game’ are still floating around. Damn them all.

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Michael Carr

Deputy Editor and co-Arts Editor 2014/15, ex-Music Editor. Lover of all things Beatles, paisley and Simpsons related. Occasional tweetings here: https://twitter.com/M_J_Carr