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Coventry City fans are currently experiencing a new emotion, seldom felt round these parts in recent years.

They are actually looking forward to match days. After years when even mediocrity would have been an achievement, going to games is no longer a chore but something to relish.

Keith Houchen's Diving Header v Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup Final 1987The Sky Blues have gone from the bottom three to play-off contenders with Crewe Alexandra standing in the way of the first Wembley appearance since the heady days of the 1987 FA Cup Final.

Manager Mark Robins has brought amongst other positives, a feel good factor back to the club. It strikes me that this is not just a rare thing for the club’s fans but pretty unusual in the increasing cut throat world of modern football, one that becomes more savage and nasty by the day.

Manchester City Fans v Arsenal - £62 Where will it stop?As much as I despise being in League One, it is almost refreshing to be away from the increasing madness of the top two divisions. In one week, we have seen the disgraceful axing of Nigel Adkins at Southampton, Theo Walcott being handed £100,000 a week for his cameo roles, and Manchester City fans returning £62 Emirates Stadium match tickets to Arsenal.

The game at the highest domestic level seems increasingly out of touch with the supporters. There is a panic driven demand for success that defies all logic and reason. It seems a price is being paid for the game selling its soul to the foreign owners and television. The sanitised image of the game that The Premier League and Sky love to portray is breeding insanity.

Rarely does a week pass without not just the worst aspects of football coming to the fore but human nature itself. Cheating and racism amongst others have seldom been out of the spotlight. If that wasn’t depressing enough the game’s bigwigs spout platitudes without actually doing anything. Kind of mind over Blatter to coin a pun.

Coventry City's Captain Carl BakerRemarkably, a middle aged Manchester City fan told me the season they spent in League One was as enjoyable as last years top flight triumph. He cited the banter, being able to stand and even freedom from the tribalism that is always on the edge of something more cynical in big matches.

Personally, I am enjoying seeing players like Coventry City’s captain Carl Baker whose heart is worn on the sleeve and badge rather than the wallet.

Of course I hanker for a return to the big time. But it is rather like queuing for a nightclub where you can’t afford the drinks. Sixty quid for a football match? Not on the planet I and most of my friends inhabit.

Football likes to brag of being in touch with its roots. It pictures generations of families travelling to games together getting into a carefully product placed car. The reality is something different. The fan is being financially squeezed, its loyalty tested. Football’s main income stream has been transformed from the terraces to the armchair. Small wonder it has become flabby and unfit. There will never be anything quite like being there in person, seeing your team achieve glory.

But it has to be affordable and the role models admirable if the beautiful game is not to become the beautified shame.

Post written by Rob Summerfield
Twitter: @RobSummerfield1

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