It is a strange thing, considering how football is so clearly the most successful cultural entertainment and export of the United Kingdom, yet one of the most constant narratives surrounding it is how the game can learn from other sports.
Whether it be how the games would be so much improved if they openly adopted the rule of rugby - referees' microphones able to be heard by everyone, video replays, physios tending to players as the game is in session, calling the officials 'sir', brutal waist high tackles being applauded - or how the spirit of the gloriously untouchable Olympians every four years has to be mirrored every day in the Premier League, there are few things which have been so successful yet have been lambasted without let up.
Of course it is not entirely without reason. Look at the spending, not only of more than £1billion in the transfer window, but of £30million on Moussa Sissoko alone, shows how ridiculously loud cash now talks in the game. Sissoko has been amply rewarded for three years of lacklustre performance and sulky attitude, culminating in relegation, by getting a five year deal at a Champions League team.
Yet football exists in such an otherworldly situation it would be pretty much pointless to try and bring it down to earth by drawing it level with the rules or attitudes of any other sport. Instead, if we are truly looking to improve football, there is only one cultural medium so wildly inflated with money it could be compared to the maligned national game - the film industry.
I got this idea from listening last week to another superb edition of the Guardian Football Weekly podcast, in which mention was made of the recently released film, The Purge: Election Year. The Purge, if you are not aware, is a horror franchise in which the conceit is, for one day only, all crime is legal. Surely this could be applied to football - instead of the inconsistent application of rules over shirt tugging and second yellows, just make one game week a year completely foul free, anything goes. It would be the perfect reason for Game 39 to be included.
But what other film rules could be adopted by football? Well, if Purgeball doesn't catch on, how about a mix of football and Suicide Squad - gather the 11 dirtiest players from the season prior and make them play together, so all the foul play can be contained and concentrated in one side, making it much simpler for the refs to know who to keep an eye on.
There would be some initial flaws - accusations of bias, risk of infighting within the team, the fact Suicide Squad is shit - but it could work out. Hey, in the film the squad end up saving the day (so I am told, I fell asleep), so there's no reason this team could not pull a Leicester and win the league.
What other films could football learn from? Let me know in the comments, this could be a regular feature. Or die after one week, who knows.
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