Six ways for English football to make itself sexier
The beautiful game can still improve
Half-time interviews with Premier League managers could be introduced next season, according to a report from the Mail. Emphasis on the could - Premier League clubs would have to vote in favour of the idea at the upcoming AGM, and it seems unlikely they will want to add to the already mountainous media duties.
However, it feels like a great idea and a natural next step in modernising the TV experience to bring football up to date with other sports, which are already implementing innovative ideas along the same lines.
This got us thinking, what else could football do to improve the overall experience, both in the stadiums and on TV? Here are a few suggestions on how the beautiful game could become more enjoyable for fans and viewers.
Mic up referees to explain unclear decisions
This is something we see in NFL a lot, and with good reason: it is the most chaotic sport around for about three seconds at a time, during which it is impossible for any viewer to follow the ball and every individual battle taking place on the field. Which makes it logical for referees to be mic'd up and explain the reason behind each penalty decision and its consequences.
Given the sheer levels of fume that follow every single refereeing decision in the Premier League, this might go some way to pacifying that anger, even if it won't completely eradicate it. Just a simple, "Granit Xhaka has used excessive force in that challenge, having already committed five fouls, red card," would be a superb addition to the viewing experience for both those in the stadium and those watching at home.
Microphones on goalposts
If they can put motion sensors in goalposts for goal-line technology, they can put mics on there for our entertainment. I'm envisaging this being similar to stump mics in cricket; picking up the trash talk at corners and goalkeepers barking instructions at their defenders. It would probably require a thorough censoring process before it was aired, but would hearing Jordan Pickford bark at Michael Keane for being 10 yards out of position not make that half-time analysis much more entertaining?
An equivalent of El Día Después
If you haven't had the pleasure of watching El Día Después, you've missed out. As its name suggests, it is broadcast 'the day after' a big La Liga game, and explores the third eye moments that the live broadcast will have missed. Cameras situated on the touchlines pick up conversations and arguments between players and the sneaky bits of aggro we all
hate love to see, accompanied by a dramatic narration of events. Let us show you a taste. Watch it and tell me you don't want to see the absolute nonsense said between Jack Grealish and whichever defender is hacking him to shreds.
Bin club tracksuits, introduce NBA style walk-ins
No doubt this will increase the blood pressure levels of all the great Proper Football Men who dominate the punditry panels of football broadcasting, but hear me out. Club tracksuits, and club suits, are really boring. Footballers love wearing jazzy clothes, because they have more money than they know what to do with and need a way to spend it during the season that isn't getting mashed at the weekend or going on holiday 30 times a year. Let's combine these two facts and have a fashion show before every game, with footballers rocking up to every ground in whatever clobber will annoy Graeme Souness the most. NBA stars do it, and their fans love it. It would do nobody any harm.
Half-time behind the scenes content
Have you ever seen the video of Paul Pogba's team-talk to his French teammates ahead of the World Cup final in 2018? If not, watch it below. It is a compelling insight into his leadership skills within the right environment and the mentality of a player at the very pinnacle of the game. Now, you wouldn't want this every week - nobody needs to see Graham Potter telling Neil Maupay to press James Tarkowski - but for the very biggest games, who wouldn't want to see Pep Guardiola explaining his latest overthought tactic to a slightly confused Ilkay Gundogan?
Touchline interviews during the game
This one is pretty pie in the sky, because there is no chance Jurgen Klopp will want to speak to Des Kelly during a match. But, for the sake of this hypothetical exercise, just let your imagination run a bit. It wouldn't have to be solely managers; players on the could get involved too. It would be just another example of enriching an already slick production into something that involves the fans, who pay through the nose to watch these often boring games.
None of these will ever happen, but it's nice to imagine.