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Is Football a Sport for Geeks?

Geeky football: can you nerd out over the beautiful game?

Can geeks like football? It’s a question that’s plagued man for a millennia, puzzling the greatest minds for lifetimes and left even Aristotle scratching his head (Then again, Aristotle barely understood the offside rule, so he probably wasn’t the best person to ask).

The spods in hit comedy The IT Crowd had to blag their way through footy conversations with “real men” by using a random football conversation generator. The closest the nerds in The Big Bang Theory have come to a five-a-side kick-about is probably a re-enactment of Escape To Victory.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for milk-bottle glasses in the beautiful game. Plenty of geeks love playing football. They just happen to do it in a geeky way.

Championing the geek

Take the runaway success of Championship Manager as a perfect example. It sells millions of copies every year, and its addictive qualities have led to one or divorces and who knows how many break-ups.

It’s as moreish as crack. But unlike crack, this game of strategies and spreadsheets finely tunes the mind to the complexities of the game. There’s something eminently satisfying about guiding your team – who are all basically a sack of statistics – to victory in the First Division.

Try chatting to someone down the pub about Champ Man, however, and they’ll look at you like you’ve just pulled a rolled-up copy of Razzle from your trouser pocket. Playing Champ Man is a grubby secret for most people, talked about like a deviant act.

Real-life as virtual reality

Yet the world of actual, real-life football has been taking nods from these virtual reality iterations for years. Football scouts scour Champ Man’s comprehensive databases to find fresh talent, while universities have begun using the internet to help develop fledgling footy supremos.

A distance learning provider has even established a football degree to help people out of the gate and onto the pitch.

The degree allows wannabe coaches and players to hone their skills with theoretical situations, tests and physical assessments that are checked on by pros in the industry. So ultimately that time spent on a computer might come in handy.

Every time a new FIFA is released, the news is awash with stories of real-life players duking it out with their virtual counterparts. You’d have rarely heard the likes only two decades ago.

Geek culture has been embraced by the world of sports, and it’s slowly but surely being accepted by the more puritan elements of the footballing world.

The take-home message of this article is pretty clear. You don’t have to be a brawny knucklehead to enjoy watching a ball get punted around. You can be wearing your hipster glasses AND cheer for your team.

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