Channel Four Think You Are Idiots

The gentrification of football over the last fifteen years or so has been well documented. Buying a season ticket nowadays requires a complex system of vetting and credit checking, and that’s just the start of it. You will also be expected to fork out on merchandise, food, drink and so on. It’s a rich man’s game, now. The other cultural shift that happened within the game was the rise of the “lad”. This was a broader social phenomenon, but it manifested itself within football with the rise of “Fantasy Football League”, the Friday night BBC2 TV show that ran from 1994 until 1998. The programme was a reasonable enough way to spend half an hour, but “lad culture” (and there’s a contradiction in terms if ever I saw one) left me largely baffled. The worst thing about “Fantasy Football League” and the “fan culture” thing that sprung up around it was that it strangled the emerging fanzine culture that it aped, and turned it into a load of unfunny chants (Jason Lee might not have been a Premier League quality footballer, but he didn’t deserve the vile heaps of abuse lavished upon him in about 1997), whilst giving celebrities the chance to (yawn) expose their “football credentials”. The game was fashionable again, and there was no way that the rich and famous were going to miss out on that...

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