Society needs authority, since without it, we have anarchy or worse still, madness and chaos that destroy all before it. That said, some forms of authoritarianism are worse than others. For example, the theocracy currently in vigour in Iran has limited the power of the average citizen significantly and is posited on the concept that one or a handful of religious leaders should determine the fate of millions.
Then there is the military authoritarianism needed to defend the nation in times of war. While this can lead to excesses as well, there exist democratic mechanisms to balance this risk.
However, when it comes to the average person, rigid and absolute authoritarianism almost always leads eventually to revolt and revolution, even anarchy and a cyclic return to authoritarianism, in many cases.
The authoritarian depends on memes that are simplistic, generic, seemingly truthful, inevitably illogical and rarely rational. Donald Trump’s flights of fancy like building a wall 50 feet high along the entire Mexican border (paid for by the Mexicans) and stopping all Muslims from immigrating to the US are based on racism, xenophobia, a siege mentality, profiling and exclusion.
In Football we have different levels of authoritarianism starting at the amateur level, where players are told to listen to their coach/manager and can be excluded from playing if they don’t. Once on the field, they are told by an authoritarian figure, the referee, what they can or cannot do and can once again be excluded from playing any longer if they fail to obey the Laws.
Once we get to professional Football, the power of the manager is almost absolute. He or she decides what players will play that day, for how long and in which position(s), more or less what tactics they will try and use, and what strategy and or strategies they will try and implement before and during the game.
The officials enjoy their usual absolute authority when entering the stadium, during a match, and when leaving it, which includes; when it starts, when it ends, the total time it takes, who gets to play and how they play, what they will tolerate and what constitutes fair versus foul play, to name a few of their powers. All of the above are vital authoritarian powers that said authorities need to exercise in order to avoid chaos and confrontation in Football.
Authoritarianism fails miserably when the following occurs;
- The manager or coach disrespects the game and attempts to win at ANY & ALL costs, thus bringing the game into disrepute and himself and his profession into disrespect and shame. (Mourinho)
- The players behave like savages or clowns and demean the Game, themselves AND their team, and perhaps even their opponents, in public. (Spuds versus Chelsea)
- The fans demonstrate a complete lack of respect for their team, their opponents and visiting fans, their manager, their history and traditions, their administrators and owners and stakeholders. (the aaa, the various WOB movements, etc.)
- The match officials and their superiors failing to perform their core mission of protecting players, punishing serious fouls, removing players unfit to continue playing, keeping proper time and preventing time wasting, and also, by this failure, bringing the game into disrepute. (Riley etc.)
- The media knowingly publish patently false, biased or slanderous articles that also bring their profession, the Beautiful Game, and its followers into disrepute. (BBC, Sky etc.)
- Finally, the senior authorities whose immunity from reality and accountability permit them to abuse their powers granted by football stakeholders worldwide, to feather their nests at the expense of Football followers, and to act as if they were divinely appointed demi-Gods ( the government, FUFA, Uefa, the FA etc.) responsible to nobody but themselves!
What all these miscreants have in common is the simplistic conviction that they can do no wrong because they are a power unto themselves and that their word is absolute. Their world is black and white……you are either with me or you are against me, there are NO grey areas.
They accept NO need to justify their actions, because they either have position power (awarded by their titles)or an absolute right to say or do whatever want, regardless of the consequences and irrespective of the fairness or truth normally required of just human endeavour.
The really frightening thing is that many people WANT this kind of blind absolutism, veneer of assuredness, pseudo- security and monolithic simplicity in their lives. The followers of Trump invariably quote these very ¨qualities¨ as justification for adoring him…they want a dictator who will tell them what to do, how to think and when, where, and why they should act, believe or think.
The aaa and the WOB’s approach the Arsenal in exactly the same way. We are right, you are wrong; we know best, we cannot be challenged etc. Debate and democratic choices are anathema to them; they are morally and intellectually superior to their opponents and tolerate no dissent or discussion.
This type of authoritarianism lends itself to absolute dictatorship, intolerance and violence, extremes of thinking and action, massive human suffering and injustices, xenophobic and chauvinistic extremes and finally to moral bankruptcy and ethical calamity.
The sad thing is that they are ordinary people like everyone else but simply contaminated by a thought process, despite its noble intentions, that is corrupt and unredeemable.
- Are Arsenal hunting Foxes? After Vardy there is another lined up. Tally ho!
- How some Arsenal fans embraced the world of mathswash, plus witches, gin, imperialism and persecution of minorities
- Arsenal 3 Scotland 0 and the big problem with signing Vardy that seems to be overlooked
And on the Arsenal History site…
- Arsenal in the 1930s – the first eight episodes have been published, more to come…
- The First League Season, including a review of each player who played in that season
- Arsenal in the 1970s – the complete review of every game and every transfer
- Arsenal in the summer – the transfers, the friendlies, year by year
- Arsenal anniversaries – nearly 5000 entries
The full index to all the series is on Arsenal History Society Web Site