SOMETHINGS EVIL THIS WAY COMES
This is an advisory to those faint-of-heart or ultimately sceptical of everything football-related. I might end up being accused of penultimate paranoia spanning everything from the simplest to the most complex issues in modern society, but I’ll take that risk.
Growing old has many disadvantages but there is one great advantage, you tend to be better at seeing the forest and the trees and, from the perspective of your life experiences, at being able to see the roots of such issues without oversimplifying or exaggerating them.
I am among those who are closer to their shelf life /expiry date than most of UA’s readers and have seen our society’s values and priorities change over the years since I began followed professional sports, and specifically football.
Here is what I see happening to society worldwide and to football specifically, which in my humble opinion, is a mirror of the real world:
1) Since I was a kid things have sped up (gotten exponentially more complicated as a result) and been relativized by those whose moral and ethical values fluctuate, depending on the direction of the popular currents and populist sentiment.
This means that what, at one time, was taken as an immutable truth, has now become subject to cultural and popular ¨democratic¨ opinion and self-serving creative convenience. In footballing terms this is reflected in our impatience and sense of entitlement to winning, trophies and ¨glory¨ football. There are too many ¨losers¨ now, regardless of how hard they try and where they ultimately end up. Last season’s negativity about the Arsenal’s 3rd place finish, despite their valiant phoenix-like resurgence from 17th to 3rd is a case in point.
2) We once used to be relatively frugal and conservative in the things we bought and maintained. Now almost everything can be used and thrown away, the disposable society so to speak. In footballing terms it is human lives and careers we now eagerly line up for the rubbish bin.
The term ¨deadwood¨ is amply overused to describe players having a bad run of form (Vermaelen, Chamakh, Arshavin, Diaby, Szcesny etc.), as if these people wanted to do poorly, and were deserving of such narrow judgementalism and generic condemnation. Thank God Wenger does not share this attitude!
3) There is an all-consuming and growing obsession with, and compulsion for the ominous side of life, which seems to be reflected in the passion for very dark, anti-hero, often satanic or zombie, psychopath horror entertainment, which were rare in my youth and which we were rarely allowed to see.
I appreciate that some so-called ¨supporters¨will describe AFC’s recent form as meeting all the former criteria! There is also a sense of voyeurism and even base enthusiasm for watching and obtaining cathartic release from other’s suffering and debasement.
It is amazing what you can see on You tube or private sites today. Even some media giants like Disney, which is one of the most family-oriented organizations in the world, have succumbed to this a little.
The sheer tribalism and joy one sees on AFC sites when the Spuds suffer and vice-versa is understandable to some extent but when Stoke fans booed Ramsey or when other fans ¨enjoyed¨ Eduardo’s terrible injury or Diaby’s first disaster, it crosses a line that should never need to have been drawn in a civilized society.
4) Money has always been the root of all evil, or at least the avaricious desire to accumulate wealth and privilege without also assuming the responsibility and accountability inherent in such lofty power. However, since the late 70’s, the gap between rich and poor in almost every society worldwide has been expanding at a break-neck pace.
This has led to the spread of corruption, the watering down of government and national accountability and intervention and the wholesale disenfranchisement of the middle and lower class (98% of humanity) in favour of a tiny minority of the rich.
In Football, this means that a level playing field no longer exists (if it ever really did), that here today-gone tomorrow Yankee traders can insinuate themselves into the game and even influence or downright control the governing bodies like FIFA,EUFA, the FA and the PGMOL on behalf of their ¨clients¨or benefactors who more and more seem to be criminals or profiteers.
5) When football first began, clubs worldwide were closely associated with their communities, often having been formed by locals and sponsored by a local benefactor. Once the Superclubs were formed and started to win big time, there was a paradigm shift from locally sponsored and ¨owned¨ clubs to Clubs full of strangers, journeymen and mercenaries available to the highest bidder and since the Bosman ruling, available to anyone willing to tap up the player with eager abandon.
One has to ask how a club like Arsenal could lose three captains in a period of 5 years and half a dozen other ¨stars¨ in the same time without any recourse to mitigation. The simplistic and trite answer given by the weak-minded is that Wenger or the BOD or the dreaded ¨silent one¨ let them go because they were too eager to make a profit or frugal to counter-propose adequately. This is, of course utter nonsense, and has been more than adequately disproved here on UA and many other good Arsenal sites. Regardless, there are too many ¨supporters¨advocating we behave like these Superclubs.
So what’s the point of all this rant? Well, here it is in 25 words or less: we are headed for a deluge of Biblical proportion in the financial and social worlds we currently assume are secure. The Cypriot crisis is but the tip of the iceberg. All of Europe is balanced on a knife edge-one false move and it all comes tumbling down.
By the way I lied about 25 words or less, so sue me….another popular US pastime that is rapidly catching on worldwide. What happened to talking things out?
- Abou Diaby: be strong
- Arsenal’s worth almost double that of Chelsea; Man City worth less than Tottenham
- Endangering the safety of an opponent: “intent” and “but I got the ball”
- Taxpayers money is going to support clubs in debt
The referee analysis latest stories
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society