The obsession with “effort” is, in truth, very superficial. But it is revealing. What many supporters want is the theatricality of effort. Elbows and enthusiasm. While every match played during the Premier League season is itself a kind of theater unfolding on the field, the fan obsession with “effort” reduces games from theater to pantomime.
The real flash point in the anger about Özil’s “effort”—he doesn’t look as if he’s doing sufficient work to deserve the money. By tradition, working-class English fans like to see conspicuous industry and endeavor from a player seeking a rise in wages. Thus, not flaunting a frenzied, increased effort is considered an insult to supporters who pay to attend games. — ‘For Trying Out Loud,’ by John Doyle.
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