Those who describe football as ‘the beautiful game’ have usually never been anywhere near a terrace. Much the same as those who describe the open seas as ‘majestic’, have never stood on the open-deck of a trawler at midnight in the face of a 50ft wave.
Football can be enthralling, breathtaking, nailbiting – yes. But beautiful? Not often. As a barometer of economic wellbeing it is also proven to be an unreliable instrument, with fans continuing to shell out for season tickets and merchandise despite soaring prices and falling wages. Hardly a yardstick for realistic economic forecasting.