Don’t bite the hands that feed you…

On face value, this tweet from Rohan Connolly makes an awful lot of sense. Who seriously is that perturbed by a top four prediction in four months before the season even starts? When Mitch Marsh and Steve Smith are making mincemeat of the English bowling attack and The Ashes appear within our grasp, who has the energy to be concerned by speculative thoughts on how the AFL ladder will look in ten months time?

Connolly’s assertion makes even more sense when you consider in Grand Final week this year, with just two teams to pick from, he picked incorrectly when asked to predict the premiership team. In fact, rather than the fans of the teams he left out of his top four, the fans of those he selected should be the ones apoplectic at his off the cuff predictions.

Whether Connolly is the 21st Century’s version of Nostradamus or not, his unhappiness at the passionate response to his predictions are a little disappointing from a man who has made his living from reporting on football for the last few decades. If not for this kind of reaction there is no need for pundits like him to engaged by radio stations to discuss football when there is no football being played.

At the end of the day, it is this irrationality of the football fan that Connolly, and those like him, have profited from. The idea that a man who makes his living from talking, writing or speculating about football, crying foul about the response to his ruminations, is a little like Paul McCartney complaining about his fans wanting him to play Hey Jude in concert.

The very reason he is asked to speculate about the next football season is that the football public will be irrationally pleased or upset by his predictions. Just like Sir Paul, who only gets to play Queenie Eye to a Stadium Crowd because they want to hear him play Yesterday, Connolly gets to express his 2018 top four for money because people will react to these predictions however ridiculous these reactions may be.

At the end of the day, it is a pretty simple solution Rohan. There are plenty of professions that offer you the opportunity to put food on the table that don’t involve you provoking vast quantities of people to fill you twitter feed with their messages of displeasure. If you don’t want ridiculous and heartfelt protestations from the supporters of the 14 teams you left out of your 2018 Top Four, don’t accept money to share these predictions. As much as the people of today love being offended, they find it very hard to be upset about predictions that aren’t made.

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