Whining. It’s What We Do!

To paraphrase David Moyes... But it’s evidently clear that as a nation we’re an unhappy bunch.

The state of the world, environmentally, politically, and any other descriptive ending in "ly" isn’t conducive to happiness. I completely agree with the air of despondency that surrounds our future.

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So to hobbies, interests, pastimes and the simple things we turn in order to generate smiles, distract, comfort and soothe us. Time spent with friends and family, food and drink that satisfies, songs that spark positive emotions and books, films etc to take us away to another place.

And then we have sports - and most notably because it’s why you’re reading this (you are reading this aren’t you?), football. "The beautiful game", Pele called it. A global language. The planet's most loved, most watched pastime. It unites us. It’s tribal, mood changing and all-encompassing. A distraction from the grind of modern life, a chance to leave your cares and worries behind.

But it doesn’t. Passions run high. Emotions escalate. Irrationally kicks in. The beautiful game has an ugly effect at times.

As football has enjoyed a media-led resurgence, the dynamics of how the world connects and communicates has rapidly evolved. The previous state of a game being the focal point of the week, and then being debated in pubs, homes, schools and workplaces with day old information and an hours worth of highlights to fuel matters is long gone.

Now football is 24/7, 365 days a year of non-stop demand for attention and information. The pace and depth of the constant onslaught is breathtaking. And draining.

Everyone has a voice. Many want to be first with the barest degree of exclusive details. This in turn leads to fake news being created. Rumours to be taken as gospel. A vicious cycle of the battle between truth, reality, falsehood and disgruntlement.

And those at the centre of the show are the ones who eventually bear the brunt of the resultant frenzy. A world in need of calmness, understanding, patience and reason to enjoy life is whipped into a maelstrom of white noise.

Players, mangers are now not just humans gifted with talents many wish they had, but expected to be almost robotic in their execution of perfection and aesthetically pleasing football.

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As a club, winning our first piece of silverware in 43 years wasn’t enough for some. In the throes of hangovers and pinching themselves that it had actually happened, the knives were quickly resharpened as the manner of which we did it wasn’t sexy enough for some.

It was an undercurrent which blighted the last two seasons of David Moyes' tenure and the resultant divisions that the support encountered meant that watching West Ham wasn’t the happy release it should have been.

Now Moyes has departed and already seeds of irritation have been sown as the nation's focus has turned to England. And it appears the nation has turned against Gareth Southgate.

Now, like Moyes, I completely understand some of the reasons why both have caused some discord among supporters. But I too believe the vitriol spouted has gone overboard. Once again the media has whipped us into a state of delirium. It’s coming home, golden generation continue ad nauseum. And the internet lap it up and add extra frothiness to a latte of over the top hopes.

Yes we have some excellent players. But we also have glaring deficiencies in key areas. Is Southgate getting the best out of crop? No. But barring 1966, he has produced better than any other England boss.

It’s been an uninspiring start to this tournament, but that’s been the trademark of England teams since time began. Sven Goran Eriksson failed with better and more rounded squads, those who are misty eyed over Italia 90 or Euro 96 etc would be best reminded of how dreadful and lucky we were in some of the games.

Like I said, Southgate hasn’t got things right. It’s a tough watch. Square pegs in round holes don’t work. The world can see that. But we’ve in the knockout stages and unbeaten. There’s more outlet to moan. There’s more reason to whinge about a lot of things in this world.

Take solace in the positives.

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