November 27, 2010 § Leave a Comment
There is a strange idea of loyalty among football fans, akin to that found in the general populace during times of war. It is the loyalty of the perpetually embattled, and it manifests not only in fealty and devotion but also in a puritanical rejection of any kind of self-critical thought. Those who questions the motives or the execution of war are deemed unpatriotic; in extreme cases traitors. Unity is strength. Support our troops. Get behind the lads.
Obviously, football clubs are very rarely in existential danger, and so the analogy is imperfect. Most notably, fans are happy to turn on certain individuals — managers, players, board members — when results are disappointing. Success, in football, begets loyalty: the better you are, the more we will love you. If you can manufacture those moments of sublime joy that justify the whole sad business of being a football fan, then those fans will, in turn, defend your name against those who would traduce your reputation. All of which means that Sir Alex Ferguson, a man with more silverware than a royal wedding, should be above reproach. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2010 § Leave a Comment
What’s a fan to do?
Rooney’s alarming volte-face – surely the furthest any player has gone before suddenly panicking and backing away – leaves the United faithful in something of an awkward position. Most, if not all, had begun to position themselves for his absence; even the balaclava-clad buffoons who spent the evening embarrassing themselves outside his house must have thought it all a little futile, though thinking clearly isn’t their strong suit.
If the post-Rooney future was an unclear place, the future with him is equally uncertain. Is this just manoeuvring to ensure a full-price for a sale in the summer? Has he been convinced that the squad contains the quality that he didn’t see in early August? Did he look deep into his soul and find Sir Alex mournfully gazing back at him? Have the club been taken by a calculated piece of salary-inflating brinkmanship? Or did he – as rent-a-berk Stan Collymore suggests – simply look at the enormity of what he was about to do, and bottle it? « Read the rest of this entry »