Lionel Messi Football fatigue
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Football Fatigue: Is It All a Bit Much?

The idea of content fatigue is common. Maybe the most talked about example is ‘Comic Book Movie Fatigue.’ Since 2008 and the release of ‘Iron Man’, the wave of related media has been immense. To the point where many people think it is too much. Particularly the quantity-over-quality approach that seems to have been taken. I fear football is falling victim to its own ‘Football fatigue’, but not just on the pitch. From constant social media to morally bankrupt players, read as I explore whether football is drowning in its own mess.

Social Media

At this point, social media is nothing new. Whether we call it Twitter, X, Threads, or whatever else, it’s the same thing. But the football side of things, well, that’s a little bit different. Firstly, the sheer amount of football content for a regular fan is intense. This is a combination of news (both reliable and completely useless), club account posts, aggregators, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) accounts, large football accounts, football meme accounts, people who have gained traction for reasons I’ll never know, and so many more. Put simply; it is too much. Of the first 50 posts in my Twitter/X feed, 31 were football related. Four of them were even the same news.

The problem isn’t always the amount of content, however. The reason it’s draining, to me in particular, is the predictability of it. I know when stories break, people will have opinions, and rightly so, but some large football accounts have more influence than they know. It is commonplace to see controversial statements thrown around on Twitter because most don’t have to be accountable. I can see how people get drawn in by accounts with their favourite player as a profile picture. You don’t know who they are or how old they are, just a black-and-white picture of Alejandro Garnacho wearing a snood and laughing at your face.

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Social media opinions are fairly harmless, if a bit irritating when discussing if Haaland or Mbappé is better. But when something serious happens in the world of football, some opinions can be dangerous. Especially now that Twitter/X is monetised by interactions. The controversy now directly equals income.

Scandal and Controversy

Scandal is nothing new to football. What has changed is the public access to them. In all honesty, putting 30 young men together, in a male-dominated environment, making them unimaginably rich and powerful before they have reached emotional maturity, is a ticking time bomb. I will not mention any specific events here, but sex, drugs, abuse and whatever else you can think of happen in football. Linking this back to social media, even catching a glimpse of what people really think about these events, may be the most depressing part of being a modern football fan.

Young people can be ignorant, simply not having the life experience to compute some of the scandals that happen in football. Add into this the truly unique emotions that supporting a team can give a person, and you get people defending the indefensible. The worst part is if you stick to your morals you will be attacked for it. More than once I have considered leaving social media platforms for this reason. The culture of football social media and the way scandals are reported (in the main) is fatiguing.

This is made worse by said footballers being reintroduced by their clubs due to perceived value.

State Ownership and Sportswashing

Football is now more of a business than ever, meaning clubs and players are making ethically bankrupt decisions more and more. The problem with state ownership is that it is always for the benefit of the nation, not the club. They are effectively buying a fan base who will (in the main) defend their owners passionately. This then improves the look of the nation who bought the club. That is Sportswashing. The fact that a country that retains laws to execute an openly gay individual can own one of the biggest teams in England is a failure and a dark scenario.

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This same country is also spending this summer throwing money at any footballer that shows a passing interest. Not only is the idea ‘it will set up their families for life’ ridiculous; most elite footballers earn over three normal yearly salaries a week. But also the publicity that these deals provide Saudi Arabia is incredible. I have a particularly strong problem with Jordan Henderson. I cannot fathom the decision to stand up as the main advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights in the Premier League, just to accept the offer to play in a country where the same thing is illegal. A horrible thing to do and his legacy is tarnished.

Actual Football Fatigue

There is actually too much football. For a European-level club, you can expect to play 60+ games of football in a season. Even for a squad like Manchester City’s, that is really pushing it. Time will tell, but I expect this will ultimately mean shorter careers for most players, and definitely more injuries. Once again it is a business over sporting decision. Many top-level managers and players have come out and explained how there are too many games.

If all these games must be played, you would expect the sport to change at a fundamental level. Maybe Florentino Pérez will get his way, and we will have shorter games of football. But it won’t be because of our TikTok attention spans. No, it’ll be because footballers cannot perform actual sporting excellence anymore due to fatigue.

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It’s Not All Bad…

There are still good people in football. On the pitch and even on social media. Players who use their wealth and power for good. Accounts that exist to explain what random assortment of players Pep Guardiola decided to field this week, the list goes on.

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It just feels a bit like football and some of the people that make it tick need to have a good look at themselves in the mirror. Who wants to watch their favourite team play and have to think about which players exposed themselves in a club the weekend before? Or which ones drunk drove their car into a ditch? I just want people to do better, is that too much to ask?

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