Is Football still 'The Beautiful Game'?


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Football, known to so many people as, ‘The Beautiful Game’. But really? Is football really still the beautiful game it once was? In my opinion, no, it isn’t, why? Well, over the past few decades, certain aspects of modern football have ruined what once was – ‘The Beautiful Game’. In this article I will cover the differences in the game, on and off the pitch, from then till now including the, Rules and Regulations, Match Attendances, Ticket Prices, and Player Transfers.

Match Attendances/Ticket Prices

Match attendances in football have dropped dramatically over the years mainly because of two major aspects of the modern game, Television and, of course, Money. It is frightening the impact money has had on football, tickets used to be purchased from as low as £2 and now, if you would like to take you and your child to, let’s just say, a standard SPFL game to watch a game of football, you’ll need to pay at least £30 onwards, big difference, isn’t it?

Now, because of games being shown live on television, people do not even think twice about taking their child to the game, they would much rather sit in their own comfort watching the game for a cost of virtually nothing instead of paying quite a lot of money just for an hour and a half of football.

At every level, ticket prices are biggest threat to football just now. We see, week in week out, football matches with a stadium only half full and sometimes less! There is only one reason to why this is and no, it is not because there is not enough football fans it is because the prices are too high! If you look at teams like Leeds United, who currently play in the English Championship, at the moment they average around 19,000 a match, However, In the early 90’s they would average around 34,000. So over the course of 20 years, Leeds United, like many other football teams have lost thousands of fans per match. Have people just stopped supporting football teams? Or has the ticket price affected the attendance? I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself.

You may find yourself wondering, if it is such a big deal, why do they not change the prices? Because, quite frankly, the big clubs are not complaining. Football teams such as Manchester United,Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid and many more have a huge fan base, meaning even if they charge a lot of money for a ticket, people who have the money, will pay it, but the people who don’t have the money, won’t pay it, because they just can’t afford to pay £50 a week to watch a football match, it is as simple as that.

German Bundesliga

I have singled out the top flight in Germany, here, because it is how I believe the game should be operated in the modern day and the Germans just seem to be doing everything right both on and off the pitch, regarding football. The German Bundesliga has highest attendance in Europe. One of the main reasons for this would be that the prices are extremely low compared to other leagues in the continent. There is also great Value for Money, Great players and fantastic football games in Germany and this attracts good crowds at the games. The Bundesliga is currently dominating football across the world and particularly in Europe. They also allow standing areas for supporters which is a massive plus to match day atmospheres. If every league or FA in Europe adopted the way in which the Germans rule the game, I believe it would improve just about everything in modern-day football. Yes, it would take time, but it would most certainly be worthwhile.

Player Transfers

Transfers of players from club to club has always been a part of football, and it probably always will be, but unfortunately some players are no longer staying at clubs for success, medals, cups or league trophy’s but they are leaving a football club for more money at another. Also, big clubs with a lot of money are now know longer willing to grind out success the traditional way, but they are willing to buy it? If a club wants to bring in new players, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but when a club is spending hundreds of millions of pounds on players just because they have the money, there is something wrong and unfair about it.

Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations in football have changed drastically on and off the pitch over the last two decades, a few changes being;

• Most places in Europe are all seated
• Seating has effected a ‘Fun Atmosphere’ at games
• To compete in European Competitions your stadium must be an ‘All Seater’

Some on pitch rules have grown to become ludicrous in recent years, For example:

• You can not ‘Over Celebrate’ a goal
• You can no longer celebrate with your own fans
• You can not take your top off to celebrate

Although it may not seem a big deal, imagine you have just scored a winning goal in the Cup Final for the team you love against your fierce rivals, your initial reaction would be to go crazy, understandably so, but because of the new Regulations you must not ‘Over Celebrate’ the goal or you will issued with a yellow card. In my opinion, it really is a pointless and unfair rule.

This article has described how football has been destroyed by certain aspects of the modern game and that football would be much better off without some of the ‘Modern Day’ Rules. In my opinion, unfortunately, our ‘Beautiful’ game, is no longer ‘Beautiful’.


Paul MacMillan