Football, at least the EPL version, is (as you don’t need me to tell you) in chaos.
We have entered the unknown world of two multi-billionaire run teams, Newcastle Zebras and West Ham Untidy seem to be involved in attempts at total self-destruction, Arsenal (according to many fans) are about to slip into mid-table obscurity, and neither Liverpool nor Man U can pay their debts.
Aston Villa have spent a fortune trying to get into Europe, only to find Man City have leapfrogged them, Sunderland have bought Tottenham and are finding that actually the players were rubbish after all, and everyone is watching what Plantini is going to do about clubs in debt.
And yet perhaps the greatest tragedy is not with all that. It is that most of our paid football writers (one can hardly call them professional, since that would suggest an element of knowledge and some standards) issue endless chit chat which really doesn’t get us very far by way of insight into these major issues of the day. Or any issues of the day come to that.
It makes one ache for the insight and directness of, say, the German media which in reporting Hamburg, called them cod-eating Northern surrender monkeys. But to be fair I have to admit that I discovered this through a blog on the Guardian’s web site – the one place where we can find football put in perspective.
Humour (as I have said in the past) does have a place in football, and I am saddened that much of the time it has no place in football journalism or football blogs.
Certainly no one has been cracking many jokes on Arsenal blogs of late: it appears that the majority of writers and commentators believe it has all gone very wrong and Wenger should have bought a defensive midfielder. One of the comments on this site, when I suggested that we actually had a strong midfield, was that I was being patronising – and that sort of view is widespread. (That’s not a criticism of the writer – if I didn’t want comments I wouldn’t have a comment box – it is just a reflection on how people see the world).
There are some of us who believe that Wenger has got it right – and indeed had it right last year, and was defeated only by injuries – but we are in the minority I fear.
What is certain is that no one is converting anyone, and the arguments are becoming futile – I’m not convinced by the arguments about the paucity of the midfield, and those who believe the squad has diminished in quality from last year aren’t convinced by arguments to the contrary.
So, maybe its time simply to have a laugh. Seeing the Tiny Totts at the foot of the table in yet another year when they are breaking into the top 4 was quite droll, and I always get a bit of a giggle when WHAM (as the TV screens now call them) screw it up. Newcastle is a constant self-destruct mechanism, and it is lovely to imagine the financiers at Liverpool Liquidators and Manchester Bankrupt looking at the way in which player prices have just risen and wondering how they are even going to be able to pay the ball-boys let alone the interest on their debt after the next buying round.
Listening to the “Hughes” character at Man City trying to explain his position as “manager” when he had no idea who was being bought throughout the day was also worthy of a smile or two.
And I did like the comments on this site about the need to do some adding up before you can post a remark. I was asked “what’s with all this maths? Is it to stop Tottenham supporters commenting?” and the answer of course is yes.
If I’ve got it wrong and our squad this year is not up to it at all, I’ll be open and say so. If I’m right, and we have got a wonderful squad, which has all the benefits of last year’s experience, has Nasri – a huge improvement on Hleb, and in which one of our midfielders will start to emerge as a stunning player, just as Flamini did after a few months of last year, then yes, I am going to smirk, and then smile, and then laugh, and then guffaw, and then scream, and then be carried away by the men in white coats.
But it will be worth it.
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal