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Why football is too big to ever be reformed

By Tony Attwood

Everywhere football cashes in.  Set up a blog and print your club’s fixture list for the season and you’ll get a letter telling you that you have broken copyright law and owe the Premier League a lot of cash.  (Don’t worry, Untold didn’t, and hasn’t).

As a result no one who pays for football coverage is going to expose corruption in football, and risk losing the audience it has spent a fortune trying to build.

So Fick Fufa is a backdrop, but let’s get on with the real thing says the media – le’s watch the games.  Corruption exists, but only in other countries not here…  it is the same old message all the time.  Maniacs exist on the pitch, but let’s watch the game.  Managers are incompetent but they are mostly foreign.  Someone shines a laser light in the Ruassian keeper’s eyes, but hey, he’s foreign too.

A side effect of this is that when the media finds someone they can lash out at, while keeping their viewers or readers, they will do it over and over and over again.  The message is copied from one media outlet to another, until it becomes mainstream thought, while only those who don’t depend on mass audiences to feed advertisers can go their own way.

A perfect example of this comes with this article which is on the Guardian web site at the moment.  Have a read through, and see where even in a supposedly funny piece the reality is warped so the casual reader finds it harder to see what is a joke and what not.

“There are a number of things that signify summer. The grass is brown on the lawn, eyes are red raw with hayfever and Arsenal are being linked with every striker under the sun. And just as the grass will come green again come August downpours and hayfever will become the grinding colds of autumn, winter and spring, so Arsenal will fail to sign any of the names they’ve been linked with.

“Arsène Wenger wants two more strikers in the next month or so, having ushered “strikers” Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park to the door marked “Do One”. He has apparently decided Loïc RémyMario Balotelli and Mario Mandzukic are as good as anyone.

“The Milan chairman, Adriano Galliani, though has begged to differ. Like an aged grandfather attempting to get to grips with modern life, Galliani has been talking to his club’s website. After repeatedly asking it “to do the googles”, he has finally given up and said Balotelli is going nowhere.

“Undeterred, Wenger will turn his attention to the fallout from the Starvin’ Luis Suárez affair. Should the Liverpool striker be about to depart for Barcelona or Real Madrid, then Wenger will chase Alexis SánchezKarim Benzema andAlvaro Morata around Spain in an unseemly fashion. He’s also on the lookout for a new midfielder, and thinks Lars Bender might be his man despite having a £15m offer last summer slung back in his face like a wet fish. Next, he’ll head to Newcastle to lure Mathieu Debuchy down south. Alan Pardew will ask for Carl Jenkinson and a sack of cash in return.”

Tucked away in the middle of all that is the bit about the Balotelli transfer not happening – but you will notice it is put down to Milan saying no to Arsenal, thus allowing anti-Wengerians to claim that Wenger was to blame by not moving fast enough, not being willing to spend enough etc.

In fact, anyone who has been watching Wenger’s interviews will know that it was Mr Wenger who said that he was not interested in Balotelli.

Indeed as I commented the other day, the whole Balotelli story didn’t fit into any known model of transfer rumour – it wasn’t a Vapour made up by Arsenal to throw others off the scent, nor was it a Phantom transfer invented by an agent or selling club in a desperate attempt to up the price and move the player on.

As it turned out it was a new kind of phantom transfer – one invented by the player’s sponsor – Puma.

Of course once you know that this story is gibberish, doubt is thrown over all the rest of it, but it all moves at speed, so everyone comes back for more and just blames who they want to blame for the non-happening of invented media predictions.

It’s all a bit foolish – but is clearly set up in order to encourage the anti-Arsenal Arsenal to have a way of attacking our manager.  If any of these players were to turn up at Arsenal the Guardian can say “told you so”.  If not, they can claim that Wenger “dithered” while playing beach volleyball in Brazil.

Here’s the list again…  perm none, one or two from eight.

  1. Loïc Rémy,
  2. Mario Balotelli
  3. Mario Mandzukic
  4. Alexis Sánchez,
  5. Karim Benzema
  6. Alvaro Morata
  7. Lars Bender
  8. Mathieu Debuchy

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10 comments to Why football is too big to ever be reformed

  • jambug

    So basically Tony, a list of players picked at random out of a hat.

    Not only does this fan the ‘Wenger missed out again’ flames with totally baseless and unsubstantiated targets, but at the same time it also sets up the ‘panic buy’ bollocks, when Wenger actually lands the players he DID want, but they failed dismally to have a f***ing clue about.

    In other words the usual media Wenger bashing balls shit we get every day of the week.

    Well there’s a surprise.

  • Damilare

    If, I mean IF Arsene signs Balotelli, it would be for footballing reasons (assuming he does not mind the baggage that comes with having Mario in his team or he has convinced himself of ‘taming’ him) and not because puma or anybody for that matter said so. And it doesn’t seems to me AW is a kind of manager you can spoon-feed.

    Anyway, shame on any player who is not linked with Arsenal by now…meaning they are not good enough. I expect more names in coming days…even from Super Eagles. What about ‘Wenger swoops in to resurrect Odemwingie’s career’? Or Ahmed Musa gives AW hope? ok that’s a little flat. Ehm….Mourinho dares Wenger to snatch Emenike. I amuse myself.

    Mr Attwood, if Arsenal and/or FA could not stop Merseyside fans from bringing flare and smoke bombs into Emirates and other grounds in EPL, do you think FIFA would at the on-going WC? Algerian fans with their flares and lazer last night brought that your article to mind. Fick Fufa

    Off Topic (but still trendy): He bites when he wants, Luis Suarez, he bites when he wants…

    COYG

  • colario

    I wish I had not gone to the link. It is the sort rubbish I try to avoid no matter the time of the year.

    Newspapers may be losing out to the internet but they have themselves to blame for their demise when they print rubbish like this.

  • nicky

    Football (or Big Business) to give it its proper name) IS too big to be reformed.
    We now have Puma who just make football shirts and shorts, entering the transfer scene.
    And how long before some dodgy dentist will claim to have created the Suarez molars?
    Reform? The tail has long wagged the dog.

  • Mick

    Liverpool are spending like there is no Financial Fair Play to worry about which would indicate they are going to sell Suarez I would guess.
    We are going to sign at least six strikers if the media are to be believed. Knowing Arsene he will sign someone none of them will have thought of and yet again make them all look a bit silly.

  • jayramfootball

    Great article. I couldn’t agree more. Football will never regulate itself and will never stop the gravy train. Too many people are making too much money for that to ever happen. However, the pure greed is reliant on one thing – it is held up by fans.

    Like a building so solid that you think it will last forever but eventually collapses, slowly but surely the game is eroding away the passion and interest of the fans, the very foundation upon which it relies. Its not even noticeable unless you look back over long periods of time. What is most interesting about the World Cup and England going out is that no one really cares. Woy and the lads have got away with the worst performance by an England side at a major tournament since 1958 and not a cross word is being spoken. 20 years ago the nation would have been in mourning. We cried with Gazza, we kicked every ball on the edge of seats in every game. Now? Most people would rather be at the pub. Its because,, lets be honest, we don’t really like our football players anymore. heck, I don’t even like some of the Arsenal players. The weakening bond between players and fans will the thing that brings football down and stops the gravy train. I can’t wait for that to happen, because then we can get back to real football.

    On a last note, who would shave EVER thought that the USA would so clearly show England, Italy, Spain what football is really all about. They have educated the so called inventors of the game and the biggest ‘football nations’ in the world at this world cup.

  • jambug

    jayramfootball

    “20 years ago the nation would have been in mourning. We cried with Gazza, we kicked every ball on the edge of seats in every game. Now? Most people would rather be at the pub. Its because,, lets be honest, we don’t really like our football players anymore.”

    You are so right.

    Back in the day I supported England, and more importantly the players, passionately, no matter which club they was from.

    I loved Gazza, Lineker, Barnes, all of them really.

    As you say, we all cried with Gazza. I was heart broken when we went out.

    Now I cant stand any of them. Unless one of our boys are playing I couldn’t give a shit. Sometimes to my shame I even want them to lose.

    AND I DON’T KNOW WHY.

    It’s not because I’m an Arsenal fan, because I was an Arsenal fan back then.

    It’s got nothing to do with how Arsenal are doing because we was winning nothing back then.

    I didn’t think it was the money they earn. In fact I still don’t.

    But the truth is I can’t/couldn’t abide Rooney, Terry, Cole, Ferdinand, Lampard, Scholes, Sturridge, any of them. I detest the lot of them.

    And honest to God I can’t put my finger on exactly what has changed so much.

    I loved and cared so much about England. Now…I couldn’t give a shit.

  • colario

    jambug
    June 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm
    These words also speak for me.

    ‘Back in the day I supported England, and more importantly the players, passionately, no matter which club they was from.

    I loved Gazza, Lineker, Barnes, all of them really.

    As you say, we all cried with Gazza. I was heart broken when we went out.’

    There may have been corruption in our game back then but now we know about. Its blatant and it sickens us. That’s why I couldn’t careless about the wc or the fa.

    The fa will go on and on about reforming football coaching, and finding the way to success. All they need to do is put an end to the corruption not only off the field but on it.

    The players and us the fans are being abused by those who run the game and comment on it. It is this that has made us indifferent to the game we love/loved to play or watch.

  • Robl

    24 years ago we had a brilliant, unforgetable manager and on the whole better players that we didn’t know so much about.

    18 years ago we had a buccaneering, risk taking manager who played to our strengths, and went for it, and we all got behind him on the ride.

    Today we have Mr Average who thinks you create a team by stuffing your (in his view) best players into a formation regardless of whether they are familiar with it or can play in strange positions (Rooney the left winger anyone? Milner the right back? Smalling on a football pitch?), and loses to distinctly average teams.

  • Genorm

    So right. 20 odd years ago, referees made mistakes, but not as part of an agenda. Players played for England and the badge, not the money or just to pass some boring free time abroad. Fans too, find it hard to back the current England team. I prefer my Arsenal team to my England team, no question.