Football, Sexism or Naked Politics

March 13, 2018

Written by dandan on January 29th 2011, this post is still bang up to date with its topics of the changing face of football, getting sacked by Sky and media hypocrisy. Super stuff.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I am a long time Arsenal supporter, having first stood on the Highbury terraces  over 50 years ago, a time when seats were basically for the well to do and, as they would have it in those far off days, the bosses.

The workingman stood on the terraces; this was his place, and his fiefdom. Here he exorcised the frustrations of having to kowtow to those same bosses all week. Probably also working Saturday morning, before clocking out on the stroke of midday and rushing off to the North bank at Highbury, the Kop at Anfield or any of hundreds of other league and non league grounds scattered around the country for the statutory 3 O’clock kick off.

There to shout, swear, curse, cheer, sing and bond with mates who stood shoulder to shoulder with him at the same place on the terraces every week, watching their heroes, who had quite likely travelled to the game on the same bus or tube as the fan himself, before running out to perform on the hallowed turf which, if the truth were told, was the ultimate dream of the vast majority of fans massed in swaying ranks above them.

Dads took sons, who as the grounds filled and took on a swaying surging dangerous life of their own were lifted and passed hand to hand overhead by the adults and placed in a prime position close to the pitch.

What, you might well ask, has all this to do with today’s sanitised game?

Well for a start, women were generally conspicuous by their absence from these gatherings.  Yet, it is from this point that despite disasters, violence and hooliganism over the years, football has evolved into the all seater, health and safety obsessed, politically correct, female inclusive game that exists today. All brought about by massive investment as the game has grown and become the number one TV sport worldwide. Despite this  investment, somehow tribalism and bigotry have survived, and although women have joined the brotherhood, some brothers have not yet cottoned on.

It is this fact that has led inexorably to what will undoubtedly become known as the Keys and Gray affair, as the unsuspecting broadcasters were cast on the altar of political correctness, with the usual suspects and rent-a-gobs queuing to gleefully castrate the hapless pair.

For what, you may ask?  An unfortunate conversation deemed sexist and broadcast across a microphone left open unknown to the smug Keys and his footballing Guru by some careless engineer. A conversation in which they suggested the female referee’s assistant was unlikely to understand the intricacies of the offside law and followed by a disparaging remark concerning a newspaper article about sexism penned by Ms Brady of Birmingham and West Ham fame, these comments were made in what they believed to be a private conversation.

Of course, given the animosity between the various arms of the media, it was seized upon by a rival in the printed press who obtained a recording from a willing punter and triumphantly trumpeted its existence in large type across their pages before, in a fit of splendid self-indulgence, despatching a copy in righteous disgust to Sky TV asking for answers.

Do we believe that this mass outpouring from the purveyors of the written word, was solely driven by a genuine distaste of the boundaries they alleged had been crossed? Could it be that after years of dealing with yesterday’s news on the back pages, whilst trying to compete with the immediacy of sky they had finally been handed a scoop of sorts or at least a chance to get even? The paper concerned is, of course, famous in its own right among football fans for its accuracy and impartiality. (I wish)

Who was it then waiting in the wings, who had access to this material as well as other previously recorded salacious titbits ready to be  uploaded to Utube, thus ensuring the twenty-year reign of the unfortunate pair would be terminated. The old cliché Careful who you damage on the way up, less they get you on the way down seems relevant and points perhaps to a crew member, probably emboldened by the whistle blowing antics on-line and in print of recent times.

From Sky’s point of view a combined salary of £2.2 million will undoubtedly entice whatever pairing they consider appropriate. A revamp after twenty years is probably seen as a gift from heaven in this fast changing technical world. Whilst at the same time enabling them to come out as White knights in the cause of Political Correctness just as they did with Ron Atkinson’s demise.

Now I have no love for the long-term red top TV front men, in fact I can think of many good football based reasons to replace the gruesome twosome, not least among them the deliberate and constant striving to create controversy rather than celebrate excellence.

Their treatment of our own Eduardo is a case in point. A gifted striker who had his leg so savagely broken that he will never be the same player again. Indeed so horrific was the incident that Sky themselves decided the tackle should not be broadcast again. Notwithstanding that decision, had poor Eduardo been in any condition to listen to the end of the match discussion, he would have heard the deadly duo blithely passing it off as an accident, as the player whose flying tackle caused the damage, ”wasn’t that kind of player”. I suspect some would dispute that.

A year later on his return, Eduardo then finds himself being crucified for supposedly diving, which whether true or not on that occasion, is universally acknowledged as being rife among most premier league players. Witness Rooney’s double somersault with twist against Sol Campbell to end the Invincibles’ unbeaten run, which was again watched, replayed and then forgotten.

So perhaps the result can be perceived as a kind of poetic justice for football. But for me there is the smell of hypocrisy in the air, an unholy alliance of expediency within sky, coupled to the frenzied baying of the press hounds both in the written word and in their headlong rush for guest appearances on air. thereby swelling their bank balances at the table of opportunity and who knows, maybe convincing the powers that be, that a journalist and not an ex-player should get the pundits job

Written by dandan

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Are there just too many Arsenal Sites?

November 5, 2010

Written by kelsey

The Internet has seen an explosion of football sites in a comparatively short space of time, and at the last count I see there are  a hundred or more just dedicated to The Arsenal.

This got me thinking, as I am of an age when if one grew up in and around North London, one either followed Arsenal or Spurs. Many families were, and are still divided in their loyalty to one club or the other. There was practically no televised football,  let alone endless replays, multitudes of pundits, video technology or mobile phones and generally one had to attend games. In the main there was honest banter between the two sets of fans and no real hatred. One could sit in a pub and discuss football in a civil manner.

With the arrival of the Internet and the domination of Sky TV over the last twenty years things have changed dramatically, and I put it to you, not always for the better.

On the plus side it has opened up a way for fans from all over the world to log on and express their views about all things (in our case) Arsenal. We all have our favorite blogs, and in most there is a hard core of faithful bloggers who post on a daily basis.

Some sites are welcoming to anyone, whilst others use expletives when one first steps in and tell you in no uncertain way to get lost if your view opposes that of the site.

Others (which is a real pet hate of mine) scream abuse at our players and fairly frequently at our manager when things don’t pan out as expected,or we lose a game,yet when we invariably bounce back with a resounding win,these people magically disappear.

If one was really honest with oneself, would you give some of the posters two minutes of your life if you actually met them face to face? I doubt you would. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but some people try to justify their standpoint by suggesting that they are more intelligent than others, and therefore they are the “Football Managers” and the rest of us are complete idiots.

When you get sixty thousand people together in an environment one will always get differing cultures and different view points and reading some sites it gets rather racist or political that one forgets that the principal purpose is forgotten, that is to see the pros and cons of the team discussed on any given match day, but most importantly to support the club through thick and thin.

Of course it is a free world and everyone can do as they please. Many will disagree with me, but there are just too many Arsenal sites which are not carefully monitored and are only interested in the number of hits they receive.

Quality of post will always outweigh quantity.

This is my own opinion and does not represent everyone else’s feeling on this site.