Photo credit @ Sky Sports
For an event which was hyped up by Sky Sports to be the best sporting spectacle since Ortis Deley hosted Channel 4 athletics in 2011, Red Monday failed to deliver. What we were promised was a fascinating contest between the biggest rivals in English football, what we got was 90 minutes of visual Nyquil.
As we spoke about in our 5th podcast, Mourinho shut the game down, his tactics totally stifling any chance of excitement and chemically castrating the potent, throbbing Liverpool attack. Mourinho is a manager who prides himself on winning at all costs, or in this case, drawing 0-0 at all costs. And the costs in this instance would be a Pogba/Rashford joint dabbing celebration. A high price to pay indeed.
But we shouldn’t be disappointed in the game, dull draws are part and parcel of the game. Heaven forbid the sport became Americanized to the point where all draws are settled with overtime super multi-ball dance-offs. Nor should we resent Sky for trying to maximize profits and viewers with overblown promotion and advertising. We only have ourselves to blame.
Everybody who knows football, knows how a Mourinho team plays. The originator of parking the bus (although many forget that quote was used by Mourinho himself, to describe an extremely defensive Tottenham side in 2008). A draw away at a big team is not a bad result for him over the grand course of a season. A draw at Liverpool isn’t a bad result either. It seems our expectations are so divorced from reality, spoiled by instant gratification.
This is a generation which has been raised on Youtube, streamable and KSI. We know the goals the second they happen. We check our fantasy team to make sure our first substitute is coming on after he got an assist for a penalty. We get every possible meme, joke and witty insight beamed directly into our skulls via the power of Paddy Power’s social media team, as if we have opened the Ark of the Covenant and God has sprayed us with the crying laughter emoji.
Spare a thought for the poor souls of 1985, when a football broadcasting blackout was put in place over fears that attendances would drop as a result of overexposure in the media. That “overexposure” was six league and four FA cup games, split between ITV and BBC. Plus the European Cup final between Terry Venables’ Barcelona and Steaua Bucharest. This season, Sky will show nearly 600 live games.
Have we become so accustomed to being “satisfied”, that if we are forced to endure more than 20 seconds without Ibrahimovic bicycle kicking a referee’s head off that our mind begins to wander and we check our phones to see if that hot nurse on Tinder has responded to your opening gambit of “hey whats up” (she hasn’t). We live in a perfect footballing world where we have unrestricted access to any game, any stat, any highlight. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredoms amused. And isn’t it all so bland?