‘FOOTBALL, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult’
That’s a direct quote from George Orwell’s hauntingly poignant 1984 in which ‘Big Brother’, the ‘double speaking’ powerful elite, destroyed the personal freedom of the masses.
Those words ring ever truer today as the Premier League, in particular, distracts ordinary people from the disaster occurring all around them – and hammers home the very values destroying humanity.
Think about it for a moment. Football is undoubtedly the dominant ‘religion’ in this country (and I own up to my own continued worship of false idols here). Beer has always been associated with the so-called ‘beautiful game’ as supporters tank themselves up in preparation of battle.
Also the influence of gambling has spread alarmingly to the point where it is now regarded as both respectable and a way ‘experts’ cash in on their knowledge. Whereas once upon a time sporting events were often sponsored by tobacco companies, gambling has now taken centre stage to the extent it Is not only considered respectable but part and parcel of the game.
The most glaring example is that former England captain and all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney has recently returned to the so-called beautiful game in this country courtesy of betting company 32Red as his new club, Derby County, ironically face an English Football League probe over their finances. He once wore the number nine to reflect where he played on the pitch, now he sports 32 to add credence to throwing your money away.
Let’s examine briefly the values of the modern game, best highlighted by the Premier League, and how they compare with the values of the society in which we live.
.Money is God – the rich and powerful thrive, the vast majority fail. That’s the ethos of the Premier League. You could almost produce an accurate league table without kicking a ball. Clubs with the most money are at the top, the comparatively poor get relegated.
The ‘elite’ with the richest owners – the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and possibly Liverpool – dominate. That’s why the phenomenal and totally unexpected success of Leicester City was celebrated by neutrals throughout the country a couple of years ago – although Leicester are, in layman’s terms, also fantastically rich.
In all its negotiations with TV companies and sponsors, elite clubs fight the idea of more equal distribution of funds. They ensure lucrative deals bottleneck money at the top when there’s so much money in the sport we could assure the future of all our local clubs and provide brilliant facilities for the community.
The result is poorer clubs in the EFL fight a constant battle for survival. It really is only a matter of time before a relatively big fish goes out of existence altogether. The demise of Bury this term has already almost been consigned to history.
This mirrors how the ‘elite’ work in the wider world of politics and business etc.Money is bottle-necked at the top through a crooked system. A very small number live in mansions and draw seven-figure salaries or bonuses whilst more and more folk live in abject poverty at the other end of the scale.
Divide and rule is the best way to control people. Football is hugely tribal by nature. Arsenal fans hate Spurs, Celtic hate Rangers, Forest hate Derby and so it goes on. The supporters are potentially the biggest force in football if they ever decided to rebel just as the masses could overthrow the elite almost overnight if we decided no longer to play the game. But it doesn’t happen because we’re all too concerned with our petty rivalries. The ‘elite’ loves us to have an enemy – just as long as it isn’t them. For whilst we are divided, we are weak.
Win at all costs, the way you play doesn’t matter. Those of us who listen to football folk will be all-too-familiar with this. It doesn’t matter whether your team plays badly, has three players sent off, four players break their legs, just as long as they win. ‘Cheating’ is viewed as a good form of tactics if it helps achieve a good result.
The madness even extends to going to great lengths to ensure the opposition is as uncomfortable as possible. Away dressing rooms are made into hell-holes at even the most lucrative of stadia – anything to gain the smallest advantage.
This also sums up the ‘rat race’ in which many of us live. In the office, people lie and cheat to get that much desired promotion. Doesn’t matter if you run down your mates, just as long as you get the right result. Honesty is seen as a crazy, old-fashioned policy. Fewer and fewer are getting the rich pickings – but that doesn’t matter if we are one of them.
I could elaborate much further. But suffice to say we are being ‘groomed’ to accept the values of football and its outrageous inequalities as acceptable.
Many folk rage about football salaries yet vote for politicians who ensure the same principles thrive in ordinary life.
It has become, step by step, the way it is. Apparently there is nothing we can do about it except to sit back and enjoy the game.
So our team gets three points and we’re happy – but our freedoms are subtly removed, leaving us increasingly unable to protest at the way Big Brother is ruling our lives.
It will change I have no doubt about that. But it may take shocking events of a scale I don’t wish to contemplate right now to wake us up.
For this age and all its inverted values are approaching the end of their limited lifetime.
Whether you help to blow the ‘final whistle’ is up to you…..