It’s my Opinion

THE sooner the game of soccer loses its status as the UK’s number one spectator sport, the better it will be for all other sports, not that this is ever likely to be at least in my time.

There is, however, little point in bleating about morality in a game that has long put profit before integrity.

The game sold out long ago, but only now are we paying the price, particularly across the border where the Premier League is awash with cash, from Russians with dubious CVs, Americans with dubious credit ratings, and Oriental characters with both.

This most commercial of leagues has teams made of imports cashing in on silly wages, ensuring that any home grown talent never gets the chance to shine.

If you doubt what I say, read any Premier League team sheet.

Whatever happened to nurseries and the development of youth squads?

The drain of footballing talent from Scotland is also a thing of the past. Even in the early 1970’s was providing 15% of all professionals for English clubs.

Indeed what became of the game north of the border?

Poor quality, non-existent ball skills, and appalling attitudes are all that appears to be left behind.

The latter is, of course, becoming a real source of concern for the administrators who, faced with hate filled players, seem incapable of making major decisions.

The most glaring example being their failure to deal well with the John Terry case and his dreadful racist attack on another footballer. The Chelsea player is in fact not a lone figure of repute, but one of many unable to demonstrate control, off and on the pitch.

After a summer and early autumn in which we enjoyed Olympic success, Andy Murray becoming the first British player to win a tennis major since 1936, and capped by an amazing triumph in the Ryder Cup, it is depressing to view what’s ahead of us this winter.

No need to hazard a guess - it will be wall to wall football with little hope of respite, even during the news on any given channel.

I am particularly appalled by BBC Scotland’s obsession, assuming as they do that we all like the game.

Switch on your radio and connect with Radio Scotland at 1pm on any Saturday and you will have six hours of uninterrupted soccer, though at least the presenters of the first hour have the decency to call it ’the most petty and ill - informed programme on the network.’

So where did it all start, and more importantly will it all end?

The roots are not hard to trace, as in the 1940’s Jordanhill College was producing PE teachers who had no other interest than in the round ball, setting a tone that brought little else to the physical education curriculum in schools.

As for predicting where it will end, there is no knowing - though it is clear that there is a growing disenchantment among even those who are the most avid of supporters.

Perhaps there is hope that the game will return to some kind of sanity. But when?