What I am about to say may not be all that strange to some but I am an obsessive sports fan and watcher. I can spend hours in front of darts and days in front of cricket. I find it very hard to watch Andy Murray but that’s because I invest so much emotion in the experience that it becomes almost unbearable. Rugby is nearly always enjoyable to watch. Golf is very pleasant, relaxing and occasionally exhilarating and most 'minor' sports can easily amuse me for long periods.
But I can’t bring myself to watch football.
Last season I watched about 10 premiership games, maybe one Serie A game and I am not even sure if I sat through the whole thing. I find the Champion’s league quite tedious and cannot summon any interest in that other European competition.
Has paid TV’s buckets of overhype finally saturated my mind. Is enough enough? Have I been told to watch so much football that I am rebelling like a teenager?
I think it might be but I also think the game became boring, I became bored of the same teams winning, bored of the managerial merry-go-round, bored of players feigning injury, bored of politicians pretending to like football.
And yet this season has surely been more interesting on the pitch. The opposing poles of Vardy and Mourinho mean it is hardly a procession. It's not the quality of coverage that dampens my sporting fervour - I continue to check the results, I listen with pleasure to Football Weekly (although James Richardson could talk about breeze blocks and I would happily listen). I like Carragher and (until recently) Neville's analysis on Sky and I occasionally read about the game, but I can’t watch 90 minutes of football.
This afternoon I asked my friend why, and he (Man Utd fan, and even more obsessive about Sports) reckons this is down to a certain disenfranchisement with the game. Football is indeed a distant country now. The major clubs are giant corporations, the players live in a rarified atmosphere which none of us can really imagine or understand and the cost of actually going to a game these days is not insignificant... or perhaps he just misses Sir Alex!
But none of this evolution of the beautiful game happened overnight and I was watching up until a couple of years ago, even after I stopped doing fantasy football.
Maybe its my age.
It still does’t add up - I just don't see a beautiful game anymore. After a few minutes of watching football my mind drifts. Dual screening doesn’t help of course and in this context maybe slower sports are more forgiving of a short attention span. Perhaps I can fool myself into thinking I get more out of them as I read what Twitter is saying about the event I am not actually watching.
Perhaps the quality of the game has gone down, at least in England.
Football that isn't all that good is a major turn off. The frustration I have suffered from watching a crap game of football is unmatched by any other sport. I have the patience to enjoy the ebb and flow of a cricket match, a poor rugby game repays some satisfaction in its physicality. Even a bad golfer offers a little vicarious retribution by hitting something small very hard, but a poor standard of football has always had me reaching for the remote. Perhaps in the context of this topsy turvy season I should try harder. It would be a shame, in a year that sees Chelsea flirting with relegation and Leicester topping the league, to miss out on something potentially historic.
Oh... come to think of it, it could all be down to my age. Maybe football was always just a social thing, a way to get down the pub and meet up with friends. If you were to ask me to come out tonight for a pint and watch ‘the game’, I’d probably say yes.
Yeah, I think its the pint I like.
Guardian Football Weekly with James Richardson. Avoid watching football and just keep up top date with your favourite sport through the best football podcast in the universe. Maybe even further afield. James Richardson is the master of the pun and keeps the pod going at a good pace without compromising on the journalism which is provided by a number of different respected football writers. It's bi-weekly and never fails to deliver.