The game is gone – but we’ll always have Neymar’s shooting star video

Ollie Irish

19th, October 2020

The Brexit Chop!

THE GAME IS GONE. It’s a new football cliche but after another weekend of Premier League bullshit, it’s starting to feel like a cold truth.

Off the pitch, debacles such as the £14.95-for-one-game pricing (Sky won’t say how many people stumped up for this), and the Big Picture proposal, reveal the depressing fact that the Premier League is, more than any other league in the world, a product. When you watch the Premier League, you’re consuming a product manufactured by the clubs and sold on by middle men: Sky Sports and BT. The only way to get around this, as far as I can tell, is to only watch illegal streams of matches and never buy merchandise or anything made by a club’s sponsor. The system is making fans feel guilty for just being fans.

On the pitch, little makes sense this season, and because of that, writing about it feels like it makes even less sense. The Bale Effect (Gareth Bale comes on, Spurs throw away a 3-0 lead), VAR doing VAR things at Goodison, Jordan Pickford’s small-minded assault on Virgil Van Dijk (that will cost VVD this season and perhaps more)… at times, it feels like a different game than football before the pandemic; it feels like an anxiety dream, one where you wake up at 3am shouting, THE GAME IS GONE! It feels like the Premier League is an Adam Curtis documentary series.

I think the pandemic has caused football to become aware of its primary role as a distraction in life, and that realisation has caused a malfunction, a glitch in the game, like HAL 9000’s freak-out in space. This is unsettling. To make things feel all right again, I choose to watch Neymar’s Shooting Star video on repeat for a good few hours…

Better now.

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