Let me make it clear that this is not a tirade against Fran Media. If he goes, or if he has already gone, then I will be sorry, but I’ll understand. It is what agents do to young players. Get games every week, grass is always greener, all that stuff.
But if he is going, I am just wondering what the hell his agent is doing persuading Fran to go from the best run club in the multiverse to the most bizarre, eccentric and downright corrupt club in the history of time and space. From a club which (we have learned today from the Arsenal Supporters Trust) is bursting with transfer money which is itself NOT used to guarantee the mortgage on the stadium, to a club that is so broke no one knows what to do about it.
If ever there was a football club at war, Atlético Madrid is it. In fact it is not just at war, it is the war. Atlético Madrid is the war zone, the bunkers, the trenches and the cemetery all rolled into one.
Consider the manger, the owner, the players, the fans. On this web site we talk about us, the fans, supporting the manager and the players, and the status quo in terms of ownership. At Atlético Madrid they all hate each other. They really do.
We are a club that makes money and has well ordered finances. But Atlético Madrid where Fran is reputed to be going, everything happens the opposite way around.
The club is getting on for £300m in debt, with no possible way to pay any of it back. The owner has been found guilty in the courts of fraud against (of course) Atlético Madrid.
What you have to realise is that this is not a minor club in the capital city, like for example the Tiny Totts, Brentford or QPR. If you don’t like the war zone analogy try this one: this is an asylum. Inmates, doctors, janitors… no one can tell the difference any more. They are all mad.
You may recall Jesus Gil who built blocks of flats without planning permission or even plans, and who, when they fell down, was pardoned for his crimes against humanity by that great democrat Franco. He was crazy, and ran the club until his death. During that time they did once win the double, that’s true, but that was then, and now they are on the way down, slipping down the league and back to the second division if not this year then possibly next, and with no sign of any policy that will help them survive.
Indeed it is fair to say that Atlético Madrid are only partially in the control of the owner and/or the coach (whoever he is this week.) They are also under the control of the neo-fascist Frente Atlético who have a lot of say in the running of the club. Probably more than the manager most of the time. If the owner doesn’t like the way the training is going he calls out the supporters club, and tells them to let the players have it. And they do.
Part of the tradition of Atlético Madrid is the rough stuff. Fraud against local authorities, threatening violence against one’s own players. actually being violent against club officials, and behaving with horses in a way more in keeping with the stories of a demented Roman Emperor than a club owner.
There is no youth academy at Atlético Madrid. Players come and go. So do managers – usually at the rate of 3 a season.
In England we have clubs that always under achieve given their support – we might think of Newcastle as a prime examples. But in England we have nothing remotely like Atlético Madrid – except perhaps Chester City.
Every year Atlético Madrid buy and sell players. They had that Fernando Torres, so they sold him. That’s what they do. No one stays for too long.
This is the losers’ club. The joke club. The club run by criminals for fascists and vice versa.
So I ask, what is Fran Merida doing? If he were leaving us because he thinks that there are too many good players ahead of him, and he wants to be playing every game, fine. He could go to any one of 50 clubs across Europe, and I would think, “really sorry he is going, and I think he is wrong, but I can understand a young player’s impatience, and the influence his agent undoubtedly has”. But Merida is an articulate young man, articulate in at least two languages, with a fine grasp of the game intellectually as well as physically.
And he is going to Atlético Madrid?
It is like working as a pupil under Leonardo da Vinci, or Charles Darwin, or IK Brunel, and then going to work for Harold Shipman.
So for me it is not that the press are putting out stories that says he is going, it is where they think he is going. It makes absolutely no sense at all.
(c) Tony Attwood 2010.
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Read about Arsenal 100 years ago at www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk Did you know we are the only club in Britain that has a blog about its history, week by week, in 1910?
PS: It’s colder outside my house than it is in Tierra Del Fuego.
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