At this point it is constantly emphasised that goals in football are almost more important than the proverbial salt in the soup. Here the aspect is always brought to the fore that for the fan of a team this may be of secondary importance, for example solely because he would like to see goals in abundance, but only if they are always scored by those wearing his own jersey, but that the true addressee of all those responsible should be the neutral spectator, because one must keep him involved, bring him back to football, truly bring him into the boat of the paying spectators, but that it is precisely this who is being lost to football more and more. Watching a football match WITHOUT YOUR OWN PARTICIPATION, for the pure joy of the game, for the joy of football, for the brilliance of the performances, for the fairness and sportsmanship, for the constant (not!) expectation of the ball hitting the net? No, that’s exactly what you don’t do. You might still want to know the result, you can sit through the summary on the sports show, you know and study the table. But watching a game when your favourites are not playing, and for 90 minutes? Nobody does that, at least not in Germany.
If the people in charge were to recognise this, it would be easy to implement the demands repeatedly voiced here: Rethinking for the goal-scoring opportunity, for allowing a goal-scoring opportunity, for a penalty, which there should now be for foul play in the penalty area, for the attacker to be given the benefit of the doubt when things get very tight in an offside situation, as is estimated 10 times per game – and every 10 times it is interpreted against the attacker, whether close or not, whether right or wrong. It was close? Raise the flag – no one will complain. The neutral fan who could do this has long since changed the channel.
And, please remember: all that is being asked for here is the application of existing rules. Because all this is in the rules. So if it were the case that people thought per striker, per goal-scoring chance, per spectacle, everyone would accept this, accept that a slight push by a defender, however slight it might look, would be just as worthy of punishment as the push by the opponent, the attacker that is, who, incidentally, is merely defending himself and not starting the infringement for his part, then we would probably not even see more penalties, which, even if they were awarded, would not be detrimental to the excitement and entertainment, but we would much more often see an attacker winning a header and scoring a goal, and we would certainly see more goals, and we would certainly see more spectacles like the Friday night match between Dortmund and Stuttgart, which ended in a 4-4 draw with the lead changing hands: 4, and after the final whistle it was said that “this game will go down in Bundesliga history”.
Let no one claim that it would be boring if there were three such games every week. It would be guaranteed that people would enjoy football again, and we could easily count on viewing figures, especially those of neutral football fans, who have been completely absent for a long time.
My own story about the game: I had consciously set myself the task of watching this game after finishing the chess tournament and returning home, regardless of the tiredness that had long since overcome me. As I sat in front of the TV with my big son and tried hard NOT to find out the result, the thought of neglecting my duty – I would certainly get enough of the game – and going to bed almost prevailed. Now he also switched to Sky, where “My Stadium” was on, and the result was displayed in the top corner. Despite his continued efforts to read it over, curiosity prevailed at some point. The 4:4 score came into view.
Sure enough, for a moment you’re off your feet, can’t quite believe what you’re seeing, wondering whether to be happy or angry (for all sorts of reasons, especially, betting-wise), and pondering how it might have come about. Now I even entered the results into the computer, where I saw the exact sequence of goals.
Now, when, at about 1 o’clock, the game was repeated live, so to speak, and one knows exactly a) how it will end and b) when the goals will be scored, one asks oneself how one should now endure it. Of course, spectacle is guaranteed, in the form of goals. Unfortunately, however, you have to put up with Fritz von Thurn und Taxis, who, although he tries hard, is also unbearable — a German commentator, that is — but even this is almost subordinate.
Only it was actually impossible to switch it off during the game. You simply had to watch, from the first to the last minute, because it was such a fantastic game, with such concentrated goal scenes, on both sides – but on the other side only in half 2 — that the question of tiredness, of boredom, did not arise at any moment. Even the son stayed awake until the final whistle, with the incredible 4:4, and it was after 3 o’clock when, still impressed by what was happening, the lights were gradually switched off.
That’s football, that’s what draws every fan, every person to the game, that’s the only way to get new spectators and win back the old, long lost ones. Everything was on offer here that could provide entertainment, fun, excitement, fascination, enthusiasm, emotion, devotion, passion, this was better than a Hitchcock or any Hollywood film, in which it actually succeeds so skilfully in making the spectator laugh and cry until the happy end. Only here it was real (football) life that triggered it.