Football, the national game of the UK, and one popular across the world both as a participation and a spectator sport. Few sports can provide the atmosphere you get in a major league stadium, with tens of thousands of like-minded fans all getting into the swing of things. It's exciting, thrilling even, and the sight and sounds of a football match are part of the game.
Live football is one of the most watched sports in the world; indeed, the World Cup, the magnificent tournament that takes place every four years, is one of the biggest tournaments in any sport, and reaches millions of viewers on TV and in the flesh each time. Football is a game that has changed little in the many years it has been played, perhaps because the rules are si
Football as we know it has its roots in the 19 th century, but various elements of the game go back far beyond then. The Chinese are known to have played ball games in the 2 nd and 3 rd century, while in England, a ‘game of ball' was played as long ago as the 12 th century. It was with the making of rules for the game that football came of age, and the formation of the Football League, in 1888, confirmed the growing popularity of the sport. By then it had been played in some form in public schools, but it was the working class who were to make the game their own.
Football - the world’s favourite sport
Many of the top clubs in England have their roots in the late 19 th century, and in the first instance the league consisted of teams from the North West and the Midlands. Clubs from London, the South and the North East followed, and most still exist in some form. The popularity of the game in the UK raised greater interest in Europe, and soon there were leagues in many countries across the continent. Similarly, South America also gave rise to many clubs, and the game remains very popular indeed in that continent.
So, what is it about football that makes it such a popular sport? Part of the appeal is that following a chosen club is being part of the club itself; supporting a club is about being in a clan, and the emotions that come with winning or losing are shared. Many supporters follow clubs that are close to their hometown; indeed, at grass roots level, there are many amateur clubs that have string local followings. This is another reason for football's popularity: it is a sport one can play, at amateur level, for very little expense.
Then there's the great local rivalries: Manchester United vs. Manchester City; Newcastle United vs. Sunderland; Rangers vs. Celtic, and so on. It's all about beating the main opposition, and nothing feels better for a Liverpool fan, for example, to get one over Everton. Football is like that; it's more than just a game, it's a full-on experience.
Live football is a tactical game, with managers having to decide which players have the right strengths in the right positions, and work out how to tackle a particular team. At club level and international level there are many factors to take into account, and each can have a major influence on the outcome of the game.
Of course, football is about goals; scoring more goals wins you the game, and it's the simplicity o the concept that adds to its appeal. 11 men have 90 minutes in which to get the ball in the net as many times as possible. There's not really much more to it than that. The great thing is, wherever you choose to watch a game – at the ground, at home, in the pub – there will always be others watching it with you. Fans flock together, and that only adds to the excitement.
Today, the UK's Premier League is home to some of the most famous clubs in the world: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur. All are famous worldwide, as are many more. In Europe, the strong leagues in Spain, France, Italy and Germany in particular make international tournaments even more exciting, and the prospect of taking on the biggest clubs from those countries is what makes European competitions among the most lucrative of all.
Like most sports there is a strong gambling element to football; fans like a bet, and the market has evolved so that there are many different bets that can be placed. These range from predicting the score and the first scorer to the score at half time and so on. With the advent of on line betting things get even more interesting.
The betting game has changed now that the internet is around, and for many having a bet on a game makes things more interesting and exciting. It can also make a fair amount of money if the right bet comes off. Live football, exciting as it already is, gets more so when you know you have a chance of raising a profit from just a small bet.
So, live football: an experience like no other sport, one that brings together thousands of fans each weekend in magnificent stadiums across the country, and one that offers some of the most prestigious tournaments on the planet. Whether rooting for club or country, having a flutter on the outcome costs only what you want to spend, but can add to the excitement of the 90 minutes.