Smartphones: Dumbing-Down the Football Fan

Smartphones are taking over our lives – don’t let them take football too.

Whether you’re a horny teenager Snapchatting pics of your barely-pubescent bits, or a 40-something mother playing Candy Crush underneath the dinner table, the way we use these technological wonderments is growing ever more inappropriate.

Take football matches for example. When Liverpool played Manchester City at Anfield the other week, one fan managed to capture Philippe Coutinho’s magnificent goal on their device. This was very quickly uploaded to the internet. I assume this person didn’t know it was coming. How long were they even filming for? And really, what’s the point? They’ll show it on Match of the Day. If this was you, then quite frankly, you aren’t doing football properly.

Supporters should feel unified on a match day. Arm in arm with tens of thousands of others all praying for the same outcome – like a small nation at civil war. Goin’ the game should be about being so pumped full of adrenaline that you’ll hug a stranger if your team scores. About not being afraid to sing along to songs like you once were during school assembly. About sharing your unique memories of the previous 90 minutes with your mates down the pub.

If we’re all too busy on our phones, or other devices – I saw one kid on a Game Boy Advance not too long ago – the noise levels take a hit, no embraces are exchanged and when we eventually get a pint in our hands we’ve got a hell of a lot less to discuss over it.

Last year, Manchester United took the step of banning larger electrical items such as laptops and tablets from inside of Old Trafford. Tottenham Hotspur did likewise with selfie sticks following a complaint from a disgruntled supporter. United later said their decision was relating to “security intelligence”, but either way they did matchgoers a favour.

Why anyone would want to be on their laptop or tablet while a game of football is playing out before them is beyond me. Can we not refrain for just 90 minutes to enjoy what we’ve paid for without having to log in to Twitter or Facebook to read what the people we wouldn’t say hello to in the street are saying about the event we are watching with our own eyes?

Less and less attention is being paid to football matches as the Dapper-Laughs-sponsored lad types feed excrement down our throats via outlets such as Troll Football, the Sport Bible and BBC Sporf. This is a worrying sign of things to come:

“Did you notice how not bringing on another striker and just putting x out wide actually made us more of a threat up front?”

“No, sorry. But here’s a totally banterous Vine of Arsene Wenger struggling to do up his coat.”

When used correctly, social media is great, especially as a football fan. There’s no place quite like Twitter for the sharing of pre and post-match thoughts, but that’s exactly what they should be – not during. Never during.

We all seem to have such short attention spans these days and modern technology has contributed massively to that. Even at home, it’s all so tempting to pick up your phone during breaks in play – or whenever Michael Owen is talking for a prolonged period. But ask yourself, seriously, when was the last time you gave a football match your undivided attention?

If we’re not careful, the Troll Sporf Bible will win and our sport will be banter, not football. Perhaps clubs should ban electronics altogether, apart from maybe those cute radio headsets still worn by the older generation. You can have all the fun you want with technology (within reason) but for 90 minutes every fortnight, or whenever, leave it behind and, for the first time in a while I bet, try to enjoy the beautiful game.

For more fan views or to join the conversation visit www.90min.com

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