Arsenal fans have their own conspiracy theory so why should we be any different? In the first part of a rant, begun before the upheaval of last weekend, Ken Gambles has a go at the “Old Boys Network” of the F.A. and the mainstream media. Is there, as he suspects, a concerted ganging up against little old Sunderland? Would the fans of Norwich, Hull, Fulham, Southampton etc. go along with his thinking?
I empathised very much with Jeremy Robson’s cri-de-coeur two weeks ago about the inherent bias and corruption in football, and whilst I wouldn’t go as far as he did, in the words of the old saying ‘just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not out to get you’.
Martin Atkinson’s poor refereeing decision against Arsenal was a double mistake, but it is noticeable how little stir it caused in the wider football world. He wasn’t even demoted for a week despite such bad judgement and can we truly believe that there wouldn’t have been a huge furore had it happened to one of the ‘big boys’ and there would have been little else under discussion for the rest of the week. Whilst not ascribing corruption to Mr. Atkinson, he seems to symbolise the age-old deference to power – it might not be overt, but certainly one knows one’s place and it seldom serves to upset those with influence. Sadly this is even more true in the wider world than in football which is why deep injustice, bias and the abuse of privilege are common in society, bringing me nicely to Greg Dyke.
He of Roland Rat fame, no doubt in his (well-deserved?) new job sought to make an impact and chose to have a pop at little old Sunderland for its lack of English players. This surprising stance is then supported by a Daily Mail article of such stunning ineptitude and misinformation it’s a wonder it was ever published. (I’m surprised you are astounded by anything published in the Daily Mail – Ed!)
For years Chelsea and Arsenal, to name but two clubs, have had a minimum of English players in their squads, but this is not mentioned. Foreign managers too! Newcastle’s ‘French Revolution’ is celebrated, the Strawberry is renamed La Fraise and oh how amusing and delightful it all was. But in comparison, it’s “let’s have a go at Sunderland. No one’s really bothered about them and their manager is a convenient Aunt Sally anyway.” And so it goes.
Paranoid? Well when the BBC starts editing its coverage to show our (now former – ed) manager in a worse light and when his interviews omit what Louise Taylor of The Guardian calls “intelligent and witty observations” you have to conclude something’s going on. Clearly the’ big clubs’ are where the real stories are unless you want a quick knee-jerk reaction to a situation of which most people have minimal knowledge.
Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager caused an outcry, yet his Swindon appointment was by and large ignored. West Ham have a Paolo Di Canio suite but again this is seemingly of no interest to the media. Is this looking like a conspiracy yet?
Mark Halsey’s revelations that he sent texts to Sir Alex Ferguson and that Jose Mourhino paid for a holiday for him leaves a worrying and sour taste. Bow the knee to power and privilege – nothing too overt – but how can a referee not be affected by such relationships? Remember George Courtney and Geoff Winter being all palsy-walsy calling the top players by their first names, yet using surnames for the journeymen? As Shakespeare said, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Those with power obviously want to retain it and if others willingly collude all well and good.
Sunderland have been as bad as any in using loan players, but I feel it is intrinsically wrong for players to be loaned to sides in the same division. This has now reached ridiculous proportions where such top-notch talent as Victor Moses and Lukaku are out on loan. Of course they can play against all the other teams in the league but not against Chelsea. How very fair. I recently heard Martinez talking about feeder clubs and how it would be of great benefit to Accrington say to watch Everton Reserves, so the poor old loyal 1500 Accrington supporters won’t have much say in the matter. No doubt if it’s what Premier League teams want it will eventually happen and for me that will finally make clear that the English game is finished and will have lost its soul completely.
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