Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Results or entertainment?

Every once in a while people on the outskirts of football like to chew on the old nugget about whether the game is an entertainment or not. Do fans go to games to see their team or win lose spectactularly in a goal feast that sees their keeper in hospital for a week with a bad back and the coach losing 6 months of his life watching from the sidelines?

Football, as Nick Hornby said in his book Fever Pitch, is not meant to be enjoyed. By fans, manager or players. The result is the alpha and omega and a boring 1-0 is infinitly preferable to an end to end 4-4 that has writers and TV pundits purring like a kitten with extra milk.

Look at Malaysian Super League side Perak for example. In last week's AFC Cup they hosted Singapore Armed Forces at their home stadium and came out second best in a 6-1 drubbing. Great entertainment perhaps for any neutrals watching but for the Perak fans delight was furtherest from their minds.

A few days later they hosted Selangor in the FA Cup and coming from behind managed to earn a 4-4 draw to take into the second leg. Two games, 15 goals. Great entertainment perhaps but Perak weren't finished.

Last night they travelled up the Lebuhraya to Super League leaders Kedah for their third game in seven games and received another thumping for their efforts. This time 5-1. Three games, 21 goals. Seven goals a game, if that isn't entertainment then what is?

You can be sure Perak coach Steve Darby won't be sipping his teh tarik today and saying to the club owners 'yes but it was wonderful entertainment guys.' The Perak fans won't be boasting aboutthe great entertainers they follow.

The price of this 'entertainment' is an uphill struggle to qualify from the group stage of the AFC Cup, a difficult away game in the second leg of the FA Cup at Selangor on Thursday (four difficult games in 10 days) and seven points behind leaders Kedah in the MSL having played a game more. When the honours are distrbuted at season's end it will be the winners who are remembered.

Football eh?


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