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By Tony Attwood
After about a week in France with no access to the internet, or the English media, I return with the thought that something ought to have happened in football. But picking up on the news today upon my return it seems nothing much did happen at all. There’s rumours, rumours and rumours, with most of them undoubtedly turning out to have been untrue. And most of them were around before I left.
When I went away, Chelsea were about to sign Guus Hiddink as their boss absolutely, no doubt, complete certainty. Before that they were going to sign Harry Redknapp. No doubt – bookies had stopped taking bets, dead cert. Apart from the couple of days when they were going to sign Mark Hughes.
And what do I find today? They have got Andre Villas-boas.
But what is so odd is that everyone takes this endless change of dead certs bookies not taking bets any more, seriously. No guys, it is not like that. It is all made up. Honest.
There was one article that amused me as I caught up however – Marina Hynde did a piece in which she commented on the Premier League cutting all its funding to Supporters Direct. She compared the Premier League management to the editors of “Morning Lark”, the tabloid in the Martin Amis novel Yellow Dog. To quote the excellent Ms Hynde,
“Readers are referred to at all times as “wankers”. “At the Morning Lark,” staff are reminded, “our target wanker’s the unemployed.” Features include “Wankers’ Wives” and “Our Wankers Ask the Questions”. A circulation fall indicates the paper has “lost wankers”.
Certainly that is how the Premier League see us and treats us, the supporters, and there is no doubt that many clubs treat their own supporters in the same way. But most of all it is how the media treats us – as total idiots who believe all the rubbish that they churn out day by day about who is transferring to whom.
The multiplicity of blogs seem to have adopted the role of being the megaphones of the “Morning Lark”. Some dribbling journo pissed out of his head down the pub and with 300 words to submit within half an hour scrambles around for a story. Cesc to Barca? Done it. Clichy to Liverpool or somewhere like that? Done it. What else? A guy from Bolton buys him another double and says ,”Did you know that it is cheaper to watch Bolton than FC United in the Abercrombie Windows League Division II?” so he runs that – a story that is about as true as the one our prime minister ran when he said that Britain is ahead of the world in wind power. It is just something so far removed from the truth that you can’t even argue with it.
A quick look at the rest of the news showed that nothing had changed during my time out. England’s kiddies went out of whatever competition they were in without winning a game (I think), and the radio today in England is saying that we “failed to qualify”. England had gone into the competition expecting to win it, while some guy from Spain said that we were a bunch of drongos who would fail to win a match (or something like that).
So what was it like in France? Coming back from France the appalling quality of debate in the UK hits me in the face not just because I haven’t been reading the nonsense in the English press for a while, but also because the one French paper I read (L’Equipe) does it so differently.
While I was reading it, L’Equipe was open in its comment that journalists create stories. In fact Robert Pires new autobiography is out in France just now, and the title of that (which doesn’t easily translate into English) says much the same thing. If the book comes out in English I think it might be titled “Wankers can’t tackle”.
Did I really miss anything while away? Barca are talking to Arsenal, Nasri is going somewhere, Clichy is going somewhere, we are buying Samba and some French forward or other, England knocked out of a tournament, Fifa is corrupt but no one in the FA accepts responsibility for dealing with them.
No, not much happened. We haven’t signed anyone for a big fee, but we still have Vermaelen, Frimpong, Lansbury, Ramsey re-entering or entering the fray full time, along with someone else who is going to surprise us all. Our usual four or five players coming up or coming back – almost half a team really. We do it that way every year and no one really notices.
Same old Arsenal – remember the way Wilshere took us by storm last season. Who will it be this year.
So nothing much happened, except of course on Untold. I would just like to say, coming back and reading through a week’s worth of articles, how excellent it all was. I want to thank our guest writers, and I want to thank Walter for standing in for me during my little trip away. And everyone who read and everyone who commented. Without you there wouldn’t be any point.
Yes it is nice to be back. Even if nothing much has happened.