Early on in his column in the Telegraph today Paul Hayward says:
What follows is an argument to the effect that, after the Olympic summer, the intensity of interest in football in this country is lessening; 'people no longer need football quite so badly', and there's 'a creeping alienation' even amongst those with a lifelong love of the game.
There is no real scientific basis for the assertion you are about to read, but I would defend it in a court.
I'll take advantage of Hayward's 'no real scientific basis' admission to stick my neck out and say on the basis of much less knowledge of the game than he has that football will continue to do just fine. It's not that the ills he identifies aren't there: 'skyscraper salaries, diving, racism...' It's that the game itself, in its intrinsic qualities, is so much better than all of that that it will prevail over it. I would even put money on that last proposition. The millions of fans will not be deserting football any time soon. And I say this as a lifelong cricket fan.