People will find fault with anything, even the most popular sport in human history. And if you're a soccer fan (or “football”, but we'll get to that), you'll have heard plenty of remarks from people who aren't fans of the game but think they have some brilliant insight into how to improve it. Because obviously a game beloved by literally billions of people needs to be improved.
Mind you, there are some comments that aren't about trying to improve the game; they're just plain dumb or unhelpful.
Here are some of the most common, stupid remarks made about the only thing more popular than God: soccer.
Heathens fail to understand that the rarity of goals is one of the appeals of soccer.
I'll paraphrase Nick Hornby from Fever Pitch here: “Goals have a rarity value that points and runs and sets do not, and so there will always be that thrill, the thrill of seeing someone do something that can only be done three or four times in a whole game if you are lucky...”
I mean, honestly, does anyone in the video here look or sound like they're enjoying the spectacle?
Another of my favorite, inane suggestions was the person who recommended goalkeepers be forbidden from using their hands too.
"Goals galore," the master-of-ideas enthused.
Suggesting rule changes to create more goals is a bit like saying to an archery buff, "You know, there will be more bulls-eyes if you let everyone stand closer to the target."
To be fair, this is a blight on the game, but no one likes it and no one is defending it. I'd love to see FIFA issue serious suspensions (instead of meagre fines) against those found guilty of simulation, so stop complaining to me like it's some fundamental aspect of the game that we all haven't noticed is totally lame.
Again, this is a bit like saying to a gymnast, “it's so frustrating that you have to do all those somersaults; can't you just walk across that beam?”
Athleticism is about doing difficult things that may not come naturally, and there is nothing more unnatural than not using your hands. The difficulty the average person faces in controlling a round object without their hands is what makes someone like Lionel Messi remarkable.
Or Mexican. Or Nigerian. Or Korean.
Soccer is an international game. Even club competitions cross more borders than a swine flu outbreak. So when you become a fan, it's inevitable that you take an interest in teams and players from everywhere.
But try to explain to a heathen why you have an abiding interest in a World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Paraguay, or even a Champions League tie between Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow, and they'll never understand.
You can probably file this under "ignorance" rather than stupidity because Beckham is just the world's most widely-known player. I don't know enough about basketball to knowledgeably declare that LeBron is the best in the world; I just know that the media bombards me with him.
But no, even at his peak (read: late 90s/early 00s), Beckham was probably only among the top-five players in the world. His contemporaries at that time were Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo (hell, they were just his teammates). A great player, sure, but never the best.
And no, he wasn't the first player to curl a free-kick either, so stop saying "bend it like Beckham."
Again, this kinda ties into the criticism about there not being enough goals in soccer.
There might be some merit here for the neutral, but 0-0 draws often need to be placed in their proper context. Maybe Wigan just took a point at Old Trafford in a thrilling battle against relegation while the Red Devils missed a chance to go top of the table. Every team has its plight; every result a consequence.
I can safely say that some of the tensest games I've ever watched were 0-0 draws, and I didn't feel cheated at the end just because there weren't any goals. Listen to the Stoke fans in the video; do they sound disappointed?
Usually uttered by irate spouses who are disappointed to find your Sunday plans consist of yet another session on the couch watching back-to-back fixtures.
"No, love, that was a Premier League fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool last week. This is an FA Cup match between Arsenal and Liverpool. Sorry, I can't make it to brunch."
This debate is just as annoying in reverse, with some fans taking umbrage at the trifling offense of referring to the world game as "soccer."
People, it's really not a big deal. In some countries it's called soccer, in others it's called football. You wouldn't get this fired up just because some countries call it a pepper and some call it a capsicum.
Yeah, don't even bother watching the attached video here.
For reasons that escape me, some heathens have trouble grasping the notion that a foul isn't judged solely on the intentions of the perpetrator.
I've lost count of the number of times I've seen an instant replay of a mistimed tackle and heard someone near to me (usually someone older and full of rather good intentions themselves) declare, “oh, but he was trying to get the ball. That shouldn't be a free kick.”
Um, if he collected his ankles first, yes it should be.
The ultimate idiotic comment. Usually not so much for its meaning as the timing in which it is commonly used.
Casual pick-up game in the park: yes, that is just a game. Not to be taken seriously.
Your team just got relegated by a last-minute equaliser? That is not the time to offer some perspective. Be quiet.