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October 2016
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Is football just a “packaged” timeslot for TV and media? A utopian paradigm

by pararealist.

Is it becoming like the packaged entertainment conceived to sit in a slot on TV and “entertain” the masses? I hope not. For these “packages” are, to me, nothing more than carriers of a certain thought, a certain ideal a certain projection that manifestes itself into the minds of the viewers. Day in, day out, that same thought is projected out across every station, every movie, every show, every area that captures the imagination of people.

It “Captures the imagination”. We all use this phrase to mean to be intrigued by, to interest or to stimulate. But what if we use the more visible or real meaning?

Capture = To take captive, seize or gain possession or control of.

Imagination = the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts, the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.

So our ability of the mind to create and be resourcefull is taken captive, seized and controlled.It stares us in the face and we do not even realise it. No wonder then that even a simple game is also likely to be “packaged” like the rest of the “entertainment” made specially to “entertain” us.

But who is it that defines entertainment? Of course it is the owners of the media, they want to insure maximum viewers to watch these advertisements between which the “packaged” bundles of “entertainment” are transmitted.

They are after all paying mucho money for the privilege of transmitting the football. Why on earth do they get to decide terms, changing schedules to fit their own? There are surely many others out there who would gladly buy the rights to the games and just show the games, without any hidden agendas, without trying to make it “entertaining”, just letting the sport of the game speak for itself. Or are they? I wonder. They probably won’t have that amount of money though.

BT seems to be the new boy on the block, after Sky had dominated for so long with little rivalry and it took much money to gain that status of even being a threat to Sky. Let us see if the new money to the clubs do really help to improve football and keep it a game that we can all enjoy, and not for it to degenerate to some form of sport resembling Rollerball (1975 + 2002), anyone remember that? I do not even want to admit I watched them, I feel a little shamed, but I was young then is my only excuse. πŸ™‚

Ok, sometimes in some games in the PL I have the strange feeling that they are masterminds of scripting to achieve a certain result in order to keep the interest in the PL on TV or should I say ratings up all the way to the last game of the season. We all know those games. Games when the refs, the pundits, the commentators and even the players in the game just seem to be all following the same script. We shrug it of and say naw, it couldn’t be, could it?

Then we forget it and go about our business. The only comfort we have is that those pundits who predict the outcome of games all seem to get it wrong week after week, and they are supposed to be experts aren’t they? If they knew something, they would surely make better predictions, if only for pride. Maybe they are not allowed to, after all they do work for the various tv stations and newspapers, which are in reality many arms of the one beast called Media. Who knows?

I think the media prevents fairness happening in the game. If deliberate I cannot tell. They do not highlight the ref decisions, they even go so far as to hide and cover up bad decisions by refs and by players. “We cannot allow the kids to think he wanted to injure him”. Heaven forbid. Yet in our hearts we know that he did want to, and the fact is, we cannot fool the kids anyway. So the kids get influenced that this is how it is and copy this example in their games.

This in my view will never allow the sport to improve, much less the refs. Of course we do not want rants and raves at the ref, but valid criticism presented in a decent way is more productive than hiding it from all. The youth watching will get an insight into refereeing and what is right and wrong in the game. The players and public will too. No matter how rebel the youth appear, they still all follow the adult’s examples in the end, whether they want to or not. This is a fact.

Funny thing is, just last week I came across a programme about refs, it was before a game I was going to watch. It appeared to be quite good, (mind you I did not see it from the start), but it appeared to highlight the refs and how difficult it is to get a decision right, especially the offside one. I must admit I was captivated for a moment until I remembered “agenda, agenda”.

I have noticed that many post-game player interviews are not really worth watching. They all seem to say the same thing week after week depending on the player’s age. Even the managers all say the same thing when questioned and usually only in a different way. This is a sort of censorship preventing the managers from questioning anything in public. OK ok, in the heat of the moment probably not a good thing immediately after the game, but later in the press conference when they have cooled down πŸ™‚ and are rational again, why not?

At the moment only our own Arsene Wenger and that guy from Chel$ seem to defy the media both in their own little way. One with a cheeky grin and stern words or no words as the case may be, the other with his bold and challenging way, which I might add, has cost him a tidy sum. He obviously can afford it, and thinks it is worth it. Mind you our own AW also got fined a few times when the association flexed it’s muscles to show who is boss.

I for one want to see natural football, where a yellow card is a rare occurrence and red ones are so rare that children have to ask dad’s about them. πŸ™‚ It is not hard to imagine this scenario.

Child: Dad, what’s a red card?

Dad: It was like a yellow card, but the player gets sent off.

Chid: But one team will have less men, that’s not fair.

Dad: That was how it was in those days my son.

Child: It must have tough times indeed dad, I’m glad you managed to survive them.

Just think of the many injuries that have disabled and ended careers, causing much disruption and probably some hidden resent too. The only way to do that is to practice what we all posture. Love , love, love is what we constantly hear, everywhere we go. Yet when we look there seems to be the opposite, hate, hate, hate.

If everyone really did “love” everyone, then I imagine footballers would train so hard to achieve the skill to avoid injury of a fellow player. The rules would make it clear that injuries will not be accepted whether deliberate or accidental and will be punished. After all there is no difference in the result because it just so happens that the intention is different? Players will just learn to be more careful and skilled when tackling. This will permeate throughout the game and make it better.

Some may well condemn this as utopia, but if we want to get there we are going to have start walking, it will not come to us, we have to go there, and it starts in our minds (oh we got that part) and then it must transform to our actions, all of us not just some of us.

Then we will realise that football has become the beautiful game again. Alongside that we will realise that the world too has become beautiful for all again.

And above all, ARSENAL will maintain its place as the greatest football club EVER.


The books




19 comments to Is football just a “packaged” timeslot for TV and media? A utopian paradigm

  • Matt

    What an excellent and well-thought-out piece. Bravo, Sir!

  • Lobster

    A few lines about football (or Arsenal)… some lessons in developmental psychology, a(n amateur) media studies lecture, all rapped around a conspiracy theory (or 3). I don’t quite know how to respond to all this, so COYG !!! UpTheArse

  • Menace

    To me it is not an issue when a game is rescheduled to an evening.


    Most children are in school and cannot attend evening games as they have homework and school the next morning. Why are clubs taking money from families that are Arsenal supporters for tickets that cannot be used? A Junior Gunner season ticket should refund a portion of the price for games resheduled to the evening.

  • Nige Winterborn

    Keep my space in Utopia warm for me πŸ™‚

  • Stan The Man

    Very good article. Especially the bit about Arsenal being the greatest. Well done. @Menace, when did the word “fair” begin to matter to these people? Very soon there will be no such word in existence, or it will carry a different meaning.

    Very good write up though.

  • porter

    Of course the T.v pundits influence the refereeing of matches and their employers change kick off times to suit their schedules . The second part is understandable but the first. How many times did we hear Gray and Keyes say ” We want referees to try and keep 11 men on the pitch for a fairer more even and in consequence more entertaining spectacle “.What it means of course is that if the paymasters are being so influential then it’s open house for a few reducers early into the match and certain teams know this and play on it.How many times do you see a warning here and a warning there followed by a rash of yellow cards not always to the original perpetrators and the original sinner picking up a yellow about 8 minutes to go.The warning system created and encourages the rotational fouling which we see in most matches and not only ones featuring The Arsenal. People are glorified for winning fouls , going down easily, taking one for the team . Your commentator will never condemn this it’s part of the English game that the rest of the world loves because of it’s excitement and in consequence it builds the audience figures and income.
    Before it became sanitised people watched formula 1 to see the crashes and I remember sitting in a bar in Casablanca when the Grand National was being shown . The bar was packed not because they wanted to see the race , only the horses falling and the jockeys getting injured. If you watch Spanish football there is much cynicism but the fouls don’t break legs . In effect English football is popular because it is Gladatorial. Not particularly skillful but all action with foreign imports providing the skill against the pit bull English player more often or not trying to slow him up or stop him altogether.
    People want spills and thrills , T.V sells them and we pay to watch it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Once in a very fleeting while , one may even feel he is/was in Football Utopia . May even have made grown men cry .
    The magical Magyars of the 50s( I hear !)
    Brazil team WC 1970
    Holland WC 1974
    Arsenal under AW
    Barcelona on and off for the last 10 years or so.
    They may not have always been consistent , nor perfect , but they made you to stop and admire and bask in the beauty.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I sometimes pity the poor fools who come here and repeat all the catchphrases and cliches verbatim ,without even giving a thought to any of them .Even parrots I think would run in once in their tiny brains before repeating something.
    Not this lot ! No siree ! Why bother chewing the cud before digesting it when you could sound smart ( or so you think !) like those ostriches .
    Earlier in the season it was the call for a monster DM . Now the new phrase is for a new back to front ‘spine’ . And the universal solution ? Spend more money !
    I just wonder how the ‘limbs’ feel about all this .
    As for players’ pre and post matches , I usually give it a miss .How many time do they not only not answer put to them , but ramble on with meaningless prattle .
    ” As I said before …”/” Like I said..”
    ” At the end of the day …”
    ” Its a team effort ..” /” The lads were …”

    What I would like to see some WWE like threats of retaliation , revenge and the promise of payback when we play that SOBs in the return !
    Or calling the ref 4 eyes , a bat ,a crook , a plonker or some similar name .
    That is entertainment . I’d surely watch that !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “As we get older, we lose our enthusiasm and joy. We become dry and unhappy. Why? Because we lose our faith and innocence. Somewhere inside each of us, a child’s joy, innocence and faith lie dormant. Rediscover them.”
    -Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)

  • Clockendrider

    It is a sad fact that the majority of people in this country have no ability to think for themselves, no ability to discriminate between truth and lies, no ability to understand the bigger picture. It is not all their fault but nonetheless it is true. It is comfortable to bask in the warm glow of allowing someone else to do their thinking for them. How else does one account for the sale of most newspapers in this country and not just the tabloids. These are the true opiate of the masses and provide a soporific fug in which the majority are happy to spend their lives. Given this extends to the important things like politics and economics, it should be no surprise that so many can be happy to parrot the inanities spouted by the football pundits.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Clockendrider -May 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm – Its worldwide , I’m afraid . Stupidity is spreading like the plague .
    Its so difficult to have an intelligent and thought provoking conversation with the youth today , as , even though they are ‘connected’, they don’t really know much .
    Whenever they appear blank ( and its very often !) I tell them to Google this or that and then get back to me !
    We oldsters just recollect from our large stored memory !
    I still remember the debates , arguments and conversations that I have had with my friends , colleagues and contemporaries , especially after a few beers !

  • nicky

    @Brickfields Gunners,
    Agree with you entirely. The memories of we old crumblies are phenomenal. I can remember various happenings in my life when I was 18 months old (in 1925).
    What I can’t recall is what I had for my lunch yesterday.(And did I leave the toilet seat up yet again, half an hour ago). πŸ˜‰

  • Micheal Ram

    I think the media’s tactic is to put a chain of events in front of them so they can keep selling papers or channels. They want a DM beast, AW created better in Coquelin. They still want Arsenal to spend money to buy a DM, so no matter how he performs, the media can list him as flop of the season based on the price and performance. Ozil’s experience in EPL proves that. The writer is right, the media think they can dictate everything and get what they want. In my part of the world, there is a famous and true phrase of ‘Lies, more lies and Chinese propaganda’. Are we witnessing the English version of it now?

  • para

    Thank you all for the various comments. I was not sure if to post it, as i wrote it some time ago and updated it. This is just the way my mind works since breaking out of the hold of TV on me.
    Brickfields Gunners well said: β€œAs we get older, we lose our enthusiasm ….”. They say i’m 62, i’ve been here since the beginning and i feel like i’m 17(mentally only πŸ™‚ )
    Anyway, would love a great performance today, one to thrill the fans but the thought of the Final will be in everyone’s minds so i don’t know what to expect.

    Up ye mighty Arsenal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nicky – With me its the keys and the little stuff . And off hand, I ‘m not able to recollect who scored our goals in any recent game ! But I’ll tell you certain fact about Arsenal and football in general that occurred 40 years ago!

    @ Para – It is a great post that got the regulars talking. Many thanks. As I near 60 , I think I stopped aging after 50 and feel 45 . I’d probably look much younger if I were to dye my hair , but am sticking with the Richard Gere look !

  • nicky

    @Brickfields G,
    In another 30 years you will be my age and deserve a few tips.
    Use a stick. This will guarantee pretty girls will help you to cross the road (even if you don’t want to go).
    Dullness of hearing. This is a medical description and worth cultivating. It’s not quite deafness but useful in being able to claim you didn’t hear something inconvenient that was said to you.
    That’s two tips for you, Brickie. I mustn’t give too much away too soon. πŸ˜‰

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ nicky – Think you’d love this quote –
    ‘ The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat , known suffering , known struggle , known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation , a sensibility , and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion , gentleness ,and a deep loving concern .
    Beautiful people do not just happen .’
    Elisabeth Kubler -Ross

  • nicky

    @Brickfields G,
    Yeah, I think we can all associate ourselves with those telling words.
    I don’t know from where you dig up these stories and quotes, but keep ’em coming.
    They make the day for many of us. πŸ˜‰

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nicky – Most of them are from e-mail and Facebook from friends who are almost loco as me !