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To what extent has the love of football been lost over the past couple of years?

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Football is the most popular sport in the world, with more than half of its population claiming that they are football fans, but to what extent has the love of football been lost over the past couple of years?

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-NEYMAR Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images

It has often been said that although football and art are complete opposites, they share some similarities. Think about what we do when we are watching a movie; we are engrossed from the first minute right until the very last, and it’s the same with football. From the first whistle to full time, football has always been a gripping sport - demanding our full attention for a long period of time. But, is the love for the sport slowly decreasing?

The answer to that simple question is, yes. The love of football is slowly dying. Back in your parents or grandparents’ day, the game was alive and nobody could stop talking about it. The likes of Pele and Maradona captivating the whole world with the ball at their feet. Nobody could take their eyes off the match. People’s attention was simply focused on what happened on the pitch, but in 2020, that is different. Very different.

The instalment of money into the sport has been the real game-changer. It’s no longer a battle at who is better on the pitch, it’s a contest on who has the most money.

Take Manchester City for example - you may believe that they are one of the best teams in the whole of the world at the moment, with Pep Guardiola at the helm as manager, but about 15 years ago, things were very different. They were consistently finishing just below mid-table in the Premier League and spending around £4 million on average each season on players, but in 2007 they were taken over by an Emirati entrepreneur, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, who within three seasons spent £386.55 million on players, resulting in three top four finishes.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

In 2020, clubs in League One and Two would find it hard to spend that amount of money in a century never mind three years. Due to this substantial sum of money being spent on players, it made Manchester City one of the formidable teams in England and Europe.

This then made it hard for the other teams to keep up the pace with the Sky Blues - giving them an unfair advantage compared to other teams. In addition, this then meant that other teams would be at least four years behind City, diverting people’s attention away from the title race in the Premier League.

The 2018-2019 Premier League season may have invigorated that passion and gripping nature for the title race, with both Liverpool and Manchester City going neck-and-neck until the final day of the season, where City were once again crowned champions.

For some people though, the clear passion and love for the game is still there and strong, but for others, it’s just not the same as it was. Some football fans will love the feeling of going into stadiums to watch their team play and having that same matchday routine, but for some, they would prefer to watch it at home, on one of the many broadcasting stations that air Premier League football, with a couple of beers.

Perhaps, the COVID-19 pandemic may also revitalise the sport and bring back that love, which before the health pandemic was lacking massively. With people spending more time at home without the football to watch, they may just realise what part it plays in their lives and when it returned, the love was back, and maybe that love and passion is able to be infectious, so that the sport is able to grow and redevelop into what it once was.