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Is there an agenda to Kill the entertaining side of the Beautiful game?

“You could be in the far corner and I’m plying up front on the halfway line – I’m sprinting all the way back and I am swiping your legs, 100%.”- Michaill Antonio.



Reactions trailed, as former Everton star, Richarlison was blasted by Jamie Carragher for showboating during Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Nottingham forest in August. The Brazilian was hacked to the ground by Forest’s Brennan Johnson, as he juggled the ball while the minutes ran down at the City ground. Johnson earned a yellow card for the challenge, but Carragher, who was on-commentary duty, took an exception as he criticised the Brazilian’s antics.

While the incident has drawn a fair share of controversial takes from past and present football players, pundits and fans inclusive, there seems to be a clear trend of subduing the little-remaining entertainment aspect of football.


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Atleti star, Koke when quizzed about Vinicius Jnr’s dances ahead of the last Madrid derby, warned there’d be trouble should the Brazilian score, and celebrate in front of the Wanda Metropolitano fans – “There would be trouble, for sure,” he said.

Is there a hidden agenda to make football devoid of entertainment?

Putting up respectable numbers on the board is just one part of the beautiful game, the other which cannot be statistically quantified is the entertainment value. And to many, South Americans especially, entertainment is what makes the game whole, memorable and exciting for onlookers – the flair.

Flair is an inherent football ability to play the game in an elegant and stylish manner. The step-overs, feints, turns, chips, flicks, roulettes, rabona, panenka, and others, made certain football players stand out from the crowd and win over fans in the last generations. There seems to be zero or little tolerance for excessive trickery amongst the current generation of football administrators, managers and fans.

Flair as an art is on the decline, as the few naturally skillful players in this crop are forced to apply a little of their skillset in a game. Expectations have changed as the game evolved. New generation coaches prefer a more tactical approach to games, the hype around players with flair has reduced (with an exception to those who still produce good numbers), they are no longer protected by the referees, can be booked or booed by fans for being over dramatic.

Of course, there is a fine line between a dribbling trick and showboating. One is necessary to get past a player, the other, excessive in a bid to massage ego and disrespectful to the opposition player and fans.

In the 2015 Copa del rey final against Athletic Bilbao, with the score 3-1 and in the 88th minute, Neymar Pulled off an Audacious rainbow flick which infuriated Bilbao players and led to a confrontation. He was booked, and wasn’t spared even by his then manager, Luis Enrique who insisted he would have reacted the same, or worse if he was a Bilbao player. Then Bilbao manager, Ernesto Valverde, who later went on to coach the Catalan giants didn’t fail to give some stick.

“When the game is won, we are very well aware to maintain certain respect for the opponent. There are things that he will learn with time.”

Perhaps he hasn’t learnt with time, as he showed support to Richarlison following criticisms by Carragher at the Forest game. Richarlison hit back in a typical social media style, replying – “Cry more,” with two laughing emojis. He was backed by Neymar who added two more laughing emojis in response.


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Players like our dear Jay-Jay Okocha would have had an unbearable career if he played today. He scored just 14 goals in over 120 premier league games, but he’s one of the best entertainers to ever grace the premier league. Who cares about entertainers in this age, when you don’t score or assist? Jack Grealish hasn’t had a good start to life at City following his big money move from Villa. His flair is seen as a waste when it can’t directly influence games.

The business aspect of modern football demands efficiency in delivery, but let’s shun the fun police, and enjoy the beautiful game as it should. Perhaps, in a way that it doesn’t make foolery of an opponent.


Timothy Dehinbo

Timothy Mopelola Dehinbo is a Student, Sports Journalist and a Community Development Enthusiast. The ‘Interviewer’ as he fondly calls himself, proves to a fault as he has rightly built his portfolio through drive and passion for the Nigerian football Society. Starting his Journalism career at the prime age of 16, His vast array of works includes Sports writing, blogging, radio analysis and everything Sports Media. He has had the opportunity to work with Media houses like CompleteSports, NaijaFootballPlus, SoocernetNG, live radio stations across Lagos and Akure to mention a few. Many of his Interviews with Players and Coaches in the Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL, as well as Other African Football Stars centers around the Nigerian & African growth in sports. The likes of Emmanuel Amuneke, Pitso Mosimane, Kalusha Bwalya, Sebastian Desabre and many more. TImothy is extremely addicted to the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL. A student of Mathematics in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, when you do not find Timothy dissecting the intricacies of a Football Game, he is knee deep in Community Development Programs and activities performing his duties and responsibilities as the Co-Founder of King Homes Charity where the development of Children living in Underserved Communities through Quality Education are his Top priorities.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. peter

    There’s an agenda but however subtle it is, it is still glaring.
    it points to the part where the game is becoming more mechanical each passing day and the little avenue players try to wow the fans with trickery and flair, they tag it disrespectful.
    I will take a player in the mood of Vinicius or Richardlison that combine efficiency and flair over a player in the Mood of Grealish who hold on to the ball with little or no end product.

    1. Big Myroh

      Whilst I agree with you on the agenda from the Europeans to take away every bit of entertainment from football which is so obvious for the blind to see… But please miss me with that part where you mentioned Grealish and flair together in one sentence… He is supposed to be a high fashion model strutting the runway of London Fashion Week… There is no atom of flair in his game

  2. Precious

    Football is gradually becoming more robotic and the introduction of technology and micro-stats will not change the fact that what used to be primarily an art is now more of a science.
    Unfortunately, even the Brazilians who used to be the main source of flair are now having their games modelled to fit into Europe’s direct and physical idea of football.

  3. Sodiq Suara

    Having those trickery and flair from a player in a football game makes it more enjoyable aside the goals to watch, I think the problem with the European is because they don’t have players in those mode that have the flair and trickery. If it was their players that are doing those tricks they will not have problems with it

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