It must be easy being a football fan, right? What is there to it after all? Watch a match with a fifteen minute break in between to relieve yourself, restock on snacks and refill your drinks. There aren’t even any annoying breaks after every six passes or something and you don’t have to spend all day doing so, after all it just takes 90 minutes of your life.
Simple right? Wrong.
For most casual football fans, that bit is pretty much it, but for the rest, it never ends. So what if the match is over, who shall look at the player ratings? The post-match interviews or the in-depth analysis?
But then, even that, is quite straight forward. One word, however, is so integral to someone watching European football that it can break friendships, divide cities, cause controversies and even send people to court.
This one simple thing, that once used to be the backdrop of the on-pitch action, now has entire websites, newspaper columns, podcasts, YouTube channels dedicated to it. You name it, it is there. And in this age of information on our finger tips, as a fan, it can get obsessive.
Every day, there is a new rumour that is written about in carefully worded, ambiguous sentences quoting some ‘source’ that will conveniently not be named, and we, as fans, just lap it up.
This is our version of entertainment news.
We want to know where a player was spotted, which club director he dined with, which agent was pictured with which manager, which team a player unfollowed on instagram or twitter. Their partners are pictured in a city and it is assumed they are out house-hunting because a move to a club based there is imminent.
All this, when the transfer window isn’t even open. That period, ladies and gentlemen, is what is quite aptly nicknamed, ‘silly season’, and it is maddening.
Each summer, July 1 in most cases, marks the time when clubs can officially make deals, post PR guided photographs on their social media accounts and ensure the line ‘get your new jersey with X’s name now!’ is there to see.
And deadline day, is 24 hours of non stop updates with reporters stationed outside stadiums across Europe with their ‘exclusive’ on the spot coverage of stuff that they will never actually reveal.
It is all a lot more stressful than it sounds. A typical day would involve checking the latest news, then scrolling through the “TRANSFERS LIVE” section of all the website that would be saying the same thing. In carefully worded sentences, of course.
Maybe this year, fellow fans, we all should try to not hit that page refresh button every five minutes and just, make do with what we have come the end of the window.
But you won’t do that will you?
Now, this writer needs to go check the latest update on Paul Pogba’s future.
Last time, promise.