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This could be my most outspoken idea yet, but isn’t it time we got rid of advertising boards?

I don’t mean ‘get rid of’ in the sense that no advertising should take place, but in a modern age where those crazy optical illusion things can be easily painted on touchlines, why not make them the norm instead of a novelty? I haven’t just run out of things to write about, nor am I trying to be awkward, and if you’re about to warn me against fixing things that aren’t broken then you’ve obviously never heard the story of Hrvoje Custic…

Wembley leads the way with 3D advertising

Wembley leads the way with 3D advertising

A footballing tragedy on par with Marc Vivian Foe’s collapse and Joey Barton’s birth, the young Croatian midfielder suffered a fatal head injury in March 2008 whilst tussling for a loose ball in a game against HNK Cibalia. Though the collision took place a good 3 metres from the touchline, his momentum carried him face-first into the off-field barriers, leading to severe brain damage, extensive surgery, and an untimely funeral at the end of it all. I take no pleasure at all in directing you to the YouTube footage, but hope that in seeing the incident you will come to appreciate how dangerous an innocuous hoarding can be, and how often we see near misses as players gallantly dash to keep a ball in play during the heat of battle…

Hrvoje Custic: A frustratingly avoidable end to a precious young life

A frustratingly avoidable end to a precious young life

Stamford Bridge - a high profile example of a low-profile hazard

Stamford Bridge – a high profile example of a low-profile hazard

Bacary Sagna winces after hitting the hoardings against Norwich

Bacary Sagna winces after hitting the hoardings against Norwich

Custic’s death was scarcely deemed news-worthy by the British papers, but if a similar accident happened on our own shores, the outcry wouldn’t bare thinking about. ‘Why were there solid plates scarcely 2 metres from the touchline?’, ‘how were they ever deemed safe when players are charging around at a hundred miles an hour?’, ‘why did we ignore the hazard for so long?’ would be just a few of the questions directed to the FA, and their only honest answer would be a highly unpopular one – money.

Advertising brings in heaps of the stuff, and boards can be erected in a quick and easy way. Maybe I’m just spouting deluded conspiracy theories, but I suspect it would be far less cost-effective for clubs to have each of their sponsor logos individually spray-painted around the pitch, and far less favourable for companies to see their name sprawled out on the floor rather than standing up proudly for all to see. Hoardings have been around for so long and contributed so much cash to the game that we expect players to simply accommodate for them when making lung-busting runs, as opposed to the stadium layout accommodating for the players. I wouldn’t go as far as suggesting that clubs value money over their employee’s safety, and I highly doubt that ‘advertising precautions’ is a matter most Chairmen would’ve even thought to put on their agenda, but the fact is that I’ve been bugged by the issue for quite a while to the point where I now wince when watching strikers wholeheartedly skid to rescue a through-ball, for fear they could crash helplessly into an oversized picture of a Big Mac or the unseemly sight of the Go-Compare Man. I always said that guy would be the death of me, but I deeply hope he doesn’t bring anyone else down with me…

Somebody pull that trigger quick

Somebody pull that trigger quick

Post written by The 90 Minute Theses
Blog: The 90 Minute Theses, Twitter: @90minutetheses

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