We exist under such an impenetrable horizon that poses as utter reality, that greed, corruption and the most despicable inequalities are seen to be as normal as having milk on our breakfast cereal in the morning. But I found my cereal hard to stomach this morning, as I felt so angry; I had just read the news on teletext about the largest transfer fees in English Football history; Liverpool paid £35m for Newcastle’s Andy Carroll and Chelsea paid £50m for Liverpool’s Fernando Torres. Why, I wondered was this only being treat as Sport’s News and why on earth was it not the main headline, in this calm before the cuts period when most of us are in expectation of becoming quite a lot poorer?
There is such a tragic acceptance of the diabolically unequal distribution of wealth that when it is showcased in front on us, instead of it causing an alarm that rivals news about the cuts or an environmental disaster, it stays in the trivial worlds of Sport’s News and celebrity gossip and everyone just accepts it. A justifiable reaction to the news of these player transfers would be to see protests outside Anfield and Stamford Bridge (Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s homegrounds) that are as big as those currently ongoing in Egypt, as they attempt to overthrow the president. For all this talk of “making the bankers pay for what they have done” where is the talk of making football pay? After all, aren’t the David Beckhams and Ashley Coles of the football world complicit in the distribution of the consumer dream which infected the populace and got so many into debt during the past decade? Isn’t their willingness to be projected as our superiors, flashing their millions and wags, a major player in the perpetuation of the consumer mind-scape which has got us all spending way beyond our means for a life of perceived affluence? Of course, the individual footballers are just tools in this landscape of stars. Nevertheless, the money involved in game still remains relatively unchallenged, and when I said that there should be protests as large as the ones currently being held in Egypt outside these hallowed stadiums I said it with a straight face.
The disgracefulness of football, waving its “loadsa money!!” in the faces of its still predominantly working class following, just carries on becoming more extreme. Our acceptance of it as an unchangeable process is similar to our acceptance of the fact that the world’s capital is still in the process of being accumulated by fewer and fewer hands. We accept that the wealth in football stays in the hands of the few just as we accept the guilt we feel as being just as we attempt to ignore the charity groups begging for our bank account numbers on the high street. We accept the extortionate ticket prices to get into the hallowed stadiums just as we accept the godliness of the money-drenched star as he runs up to us and takes his shirt off in a goal celebration. This transfer fee is just news from a normal day under capitalism; where its pragmatism obscures real pragmatism; and only a shock would be produced if we found out that Fernando Torres had decided to live on a weekly wage of about £600 a week rather than the £107,000 a week he supposedly earned at Liverpool.
Up until I was 20, I still used to go and watch my local football team. Part of the reason I fell out with it was because of a feeling of complete alienation to what it was – both the arrogant nature of seemingly every player, as they got into their flash sports cars at the end of the game, and the accepted stupidity of a good bulk of the fans which seemed to exempt them from having a conscious as they spurted out racist chants such as “you’re just a town full of Pakkis” towards an opposition town with a large Asian population. The other reason was because it seemed to me to be the most ultimate of consumerism’s let-downs, as one paid through their teeth to spend their day off work most likely feeling betrayed and disappointed as their team failed to live up to the quality you’d expect due to the money they are absorbing. I do not miss the game at all. And no I am “not gay”; as the bullying rhetoric used by men about other men who do not watch the game suggests. In fact I cannot help feeling slightly bemused as to why so many still spend time following this deeply diseased sport. It’s not a case of wanting the current model of football to be destroyed, as it will manage this quite easily by itself; the bankruptcies of some of the teams is just the start; what goes up must come down, and it has to collapse, just as capitalism itself as to. The only question is: to what degree of farce will people carry on worshiping this sport?