A favorite Angelic writer of mine was recently criticized for writing football articles that fell under the banner of humor. Disgracefully, in my opinion, it seems that some people seem it fit to criticize someone for daring to try and make light of the "Beautiful game."
Bill Shankly once famously said that football was more important than life and death. It may seem this way at times, and there is no denying your team's results really can affect the way your mood swings, but sometimes you just have to take a step back and realize—and I say this with trepidation: Football is a game.
If there was no humor left in football, we would be left facing a game filled with dickheads like Ashley Cole holding clubs ransom over pay deals he claimed were tantamount to slavery.
We would be left with the endless boring sagas over where Ronaldo, Gerrard, or anyone Manchester City are after is going to be next season.
We would be left with the nonsense rants by Wenger, Ferguson and sadly, now Benitez.
We would be left with a joyless shell of a game that I happily play in all weather conditions and have to pay £1.50 subs for the privilege. (Subs, if you are unaware, are paid to local clubs to help pay for things like kits, nets and sausages after the game.)
The soul of football really is being sapped out of the game, and for every Sheik Mohammed or Russian ruble that enters our game ,a little part of the game you fell in love with is being bought and discarded with.
Jimmy Greaves was famous for saying "Its a funny old game", but I'm not sure how much longer this saying can hold sway.
Players like Paul Gasgcoine and Dean Windass are a dying breed. Gazza famously was booked for mockingly showing a referee a yellow card when the official had dropped it. This, to me, was one of the first signs that it had gone too far.
That is why we must embrace the little bit of humor that is still left in the game.
That is why I thank god for Hull City's Jimmy Bullard.
Bullard is a footballer that loves the game. This can be said of players like Gerrard and Lampard also. But how often do you ever see Steven Gerrard actually smile? Maybe when he scores a goal, or when Liverpool win, but very rarely anytime else.
Gerrard's drive and motivation are excellent, and I am very happy that he is a Liverpool player. But sometimes, I just want to tell the miserable bugger to cheer up!
Bullard is a player who obviously is absolutely delighted just to be able to be called a footballer. Any interview I have ever seen with Bullard has been fun, entertaining, and his love of the game has shone through.
It's easy to say that football is fun when your winning trophies, but how many trophies has Jimmy Bullard ever won?
Still, he consistently plays the game with a love and a joy that can usually only be seen on playgrounds and fields all over the country.
If you think I’m over exaggerating, have a look at a couple of clips:
When Jimmy Bullard suffered his horrible knee injury, every true football fan was gutted.
When Jimmy Bullard received his England call up, every true football fan was delighted.
When Jimmy Bullard is substituted, every true football fan, home and away, applauds him, for the single reason that Jimmy Bullard is a footballer that we can actually relate to.
Without players like Jimmy Bullard, the game that I truly love will become completely unrecognizable. So please don't ever criticize humor in football. Players like Jimmy Bullard will disappear soon, and the humor will follow.
Lets so how much you miss it when it's gone.