In his weekly Limerick Leader column, our Secret Junior Footballer reckons that no matches being played is leading to a strange feeling in his club.
We’ve been training away for the last few weeks – without a game as most of us know – and a real sense of tranquillity has descended on our football club.
Without games or goals or injuries or being dropped, everyone seems to have started to enjoy their football. We’ve been getting great numbers and, though there’s still a bit of bite in training, what strikes the secret junior footballer most is that everyone has a smile on their face and I’ve started to wonder; are matches ruining football?
Now before anyone freaks out on Facebook again, let me be clear. We all sign up to play matches and it’s the main part and a great part of the sport. We train to be fitter, faster, stronger and to perform better in matches but if we take competitive games out of football what are we left with? A club for people who love football to come and train with your mates a few times a week with a strong social and community spirit, now what’s wrong with that?!
There’d be no leagues so the politics would be largely gone from the game. Referees wouldn’t be needed so they could go on strike all they wanted.
We would however be without the thing that makes our game so great – competition. Winning matches, leagues and cups are what we all dream of but the baggage that comes with competitive games is what I feel is ruining football. Everyone has an opinion on the financial side of local soccer and it is a real downside to our league.
The money is used to lure players; it has reduced our premier division largely to a group of three or four contenders and, maybe is part of the reason why our inter-league sides aren’t nearly as competitive as they should be. Why should these players care about the Oscar Traynor Trophy when they’re not being paid to?
The politics and finger pointing that goes on at league level where many feel that clubs and players are looked on favourably due to having one or more clubmen on the committee gets worse as the seasons go on.
The referees who take serious abuse – and dish out the verbals too in some cases, boy – and yet we’re no closer to rule changes to affect this.
I’m in no way suggesting that we stop playing competitive football, I love it too much. I am suggesting that the feeling around our club over the last few weeks without the dark side of junior soccer casting a shadow over us has been great.
It’s not matches that we should get rid of; it’s the rubbish that comes with them.