No not a typo – just the lovely, cuddly, societal, comfort blanket that ‘The Football’ is for so many people.

First up – I’m not a big fan, I played for my school team, owned an LUFC scarf and when Umbro was our client for 6 years I went to a lot of matches and met a lot of players.

So, this blog post isn’t about form, fandom and four-four-twos.

It really struck me watching the last 15 minutes of the England game how little has changed in the language and presentation of Football. The commentators, the pundits and the players – the words they used and their descriptions of what had just happened could have been from any moment in time from the ‘70s through until now.

Even Harry ‘H’ Kane

I thought ‘here’s a modern, smart millennial type dude’…and then he referred to his boss as ‘The Gaffer’!?

Rio waxed lyrical about how ‘the boy done good travelling with the ball’ and Frank gushed about how ‘the lads really made space’. Which left me wondering why do we still have these non-sensical tropes that get wheeled out week after week, tournament after tournament – nothing changes nothing moves on – apart from the rest of the world.

It’s interesting to see that ITV have partially grasped the nettle and decided to position this year’s World Cup coverage as an entertainment show: “The World Cup brings a much more mixed audience with it than a standard football show. “I just thought really we’re not a sports show for this next month, we’re an entertainment show,” ITV’s Executive Producer Paul McNamara says.

And with their amazing virtual studio they certainly seem to be trying to move things on a little. The BBC have done an incredible job with their live VR app which puts you slap bang in the middle of the action bringing an unexpected bit of pitch-side immersion versus the normal low-slung sofa or craning your neck in a pub vibe. But it’s still the old fashioned pundit-led TV that rules in spite of the onward march of second screening.

So, what is it with ‘The Football’?

It’s cosy, it’s patriotic, it’s emotional, it’s addictive and it’s so close to the inner-being of many people that you mess with it at your peril.

Take away the formats, language and tropes and it’s like you’ve just ripped away the big old soft comfort blanket of the nation….and nobody wants that.