Date: 10th April 2020 at 11:59am
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Home alone and with nowhere to roam is a familiar feeling these days but Ipswich boss Paul Lambert believes that football must take a back-seat when it comes to the bigger picture of saving lives and defeating this horrendous disease.

” Like everybody else I’m staying in the house, you can’t do anything, can you. People forget that the younger kids are in digs, which is hard going, very, very tough. This is new to everybody this – the thing that I get frustrated about is that there are more important things than sport as everybody knows. Lives are more important than anything else,” Ipswich manager Paul Lambert explained this morning on BBC Radio Suffolk.

And of course, he is right. We all fall foul of taking sport, in its many guises, far too seriously. A renowned psychologist even suggested that it was ‘escapism from the harsh realities of life,’ and I guess this is, at least, partly correct. Football has replaced religion as the ‘God’ of the people and our new church is built on less than solid foundations, as the obscene greed of some of the bigger clubs have sucked the lifeblood out of the beautiful game.

Like booze, cigarettes, and drugs in general, our collective desire to want more and more of it, is seemingly unquenchable. It is just another addiction really and the thirst for football often dominates our lives to such an extent that it can interfere with social harmony, married life and the commitments we make to society as a whole. Sometimes we love football for all the wrong reasons but in essence, we must not forget that at the end of the day, it is still only a game.

So. as this never-ending Coronavirus impacts upon all our lives to such devastating effect, perhaps it is worth reflecting and why football is such a dominant force, and why our whole lives seem to revolve around it? The season is on hold at the moment, so we are starting to find new ways for self-gratification, and when this is all over, will we see football in the same light?

If I am brutally frank, which given my Christian name I am perfectly entitled to be, I am not really sure? To use a familiar cliche, ‘a lot of water has gone under the bridge’ and yet, I cannot see this obsessive desire to watch football dying away any time soon. This football disease has spread worldwide and can be found in stadiums, bars, and in everyone’s household, and some form of social distancing won’t stop it spreading yet further, once the new or the revamped old season kicks off again. Forget COVID-19 for a moment because this thing is here to stay!

Lambert is of the view that the football season will be in a suspended state of animation for longer than has been suggested by the current EFL plan. “Looking at the football though, the thing I get frustrated about is that they keep on putting dates on it. It’s the 30th of April, then it’s on the 16th of May… I think it will be longer than that. I don’t see it. They’ve cancelled Wimbledon and The Open in July, how can you try and fit football in before those two massive events? ”

He is probably right. No one knows how long it will take before we get back to some degree of normality but we all know it will eventually happen. Football, by contrast, is an illness that will never truly rid ourselves from.  We are all participants in its power to overwhelm and yet, like any other drug or addiction,  we would not want it any other way.

F.W.

 

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