LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

So, we have reached the end of the calendar year and there have been plenty of horrible things in football that we have rightly locked in Room 433: a concept that is absolutely nothing like BBC’s Room 101.

As this will be the last article of the year, I thought it’s time we compare the very worst inductees into Room 433 and decide which is the one thing that cannot be in football. So, let’s delve into the catalogue of errors 2018 has delivered and hope none of them reoccur in 2019.

I have narrowed the worst of 2018 down to three contenders. Firstly, we’ll have a look at the weird media narratives that have dominated this year. The Raheem Sterling one inspired this article originally and Sterling’s subsequent speaking out about the narrative, particularly the racial aspect of the criticism he has received, was something that the game desperately needed. Also, the fact that the media is so Premier League focused, as evident when Bolton were on the verge of collapse. This was something that was barely touched on and certainly should not continue in 2019.

Weird media narratives are annoying, yes. But so is Mr. Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese was inducted way back in August, yet it took until December for him to be sacked. Mourinho became an absolute parody of himself by the end of his time at United displaying Tony Pulis-like negativity on the pitch, with his press conferences becoming increasingly ludicrous. Slagging off his own players, falling out with them while banging on about how many titles he won in the past was very much Mou’s M.O. by the end of his time at United. I for one am happy to see him out of the Premier League.

Finally, our third nominee is one that came up a few times over the year: those who hate international football in its various forms. Whether it’s people not bothered by the World Cup, people not bothered by the Nations League, and those who think they’re cool and edgy by not liking England. Still, it’s time to accept that in 2018, international football became proper good again. The Nations League is genuinely the best thing UEFA has done in years and there’s an England team that is actually really likeable now. So those who still insist that international football is rubbish are really stinking out the joint.

So which of these entries is the worst of 2018? Well, as much as I really hate Jose Mourinho, the agenda against Raheem Sterling simply has to be it as it’s an issue that transcends football and affects the whole of society. Hopefully, we will see some tangible progress on this front over 2019.