What have Robert Mugabe and Richard Scudamore in common?
They are both prone to manipulate realities for personal gratification.
The outrageously racist coverage in the northern hemispheric media regarding the situation in Zimbabwe stands in marked contrast to a dissimilar lack of coverage for the grotesque corruption underpinning the world of English football.
Okay so, Mugabe has lost the plot and needs to stand aside. But let us not forget that the man was a liberation hero and let us also not forget the fact that Rhodesia was a vicious fascistic racist monstrosity – a fact conveniently forgotten both in the current mainstream media coverage as well as in the press focus around the time of independence in 1980. Modern day Mugabe merely represents your average “absolute power corrupts absolutely” template of political psychopathy – a bit like Dick Cheney or Silvio Berlusconi, only Black. The Zimbabwean president’s manipulation of the electoral results is his attempt to establish a fake reality loosely based on that other fake reality known as democracy.
Richard Scudamore is also autocratic. He is omnipotent within the Premier League and, as such, he is directly responsible for everything which occurs on his watch. And that would necessarily include corruption. As with all online gambling, new mobile casino sites are largely dependent on their good reputation. Integrity is crossed out in crayon in the Scudamore family dictionary whereas profit is underlined several times together with an adjacent asterisk.
Football is not supposed to be a handicap sport. Unlike horseracing, where talented creatures are provided with equalising weights for the benefit of the bookmaking industry, football is supposed to be about level playing fields and fair play and meritocratic glory. Of course, it has never been that thing but, historically, it always, at least, had tentacles that reached back to a purer form of the game – a recreation. Recreation, the very name, to re-create – football was a celebration, a joyous freedom from the yoke of wage slavery.
Posh people possess neither soul nor culture. To offset this palpable vacuum of an existence, they establish fake cultures that are always based on one basic premise, namely, that the culture must be entirely opaque to all “lesser” beings – think Wagner, polo, amateur dramatics, croquet, hunting or whatever.
The original takeover of football was also simply posh people buying playthings. But, what Scudamore is presiding over is the complete demolition of football as a sport and the reconstruction of the Illusion of football as a gambling and media medium. This Illusion represents a fetishistic version of the game which bears no relation to the Reality of the original sport. Lets look at a few examples which demonstrate the conveyor belt of corruption which has produced this Illusion.
Steaua Bucureşti represent the oldskool. At the mid-season break, the army team trailed league leaders CFR Cluj by 10 points. This situation was anathema to controversial weirdo, Gigi Becali, the fundamentalist orthodox christian head-the-ball who corrupts both Romanian football and wider society. He made the Divizia A title race into a matter of god and nationalism – Cluj are soft western christians run by Transylvanian Hungarians, you see, and, consequently, they must not be allowed to win the league. These two factors provide the “just” foundation for gross corruption. Becali buys games. He buys referees, assistant referees, the opponents of CFR Cluj, the opponents of Steaua – all in the name of national and religious pride. Oh, and profit… The refereeing in favour of Steaua has been astonishing by its lack of any attempt to conceal the machinations being perpetrated in their favour. Just one example was the key Bucureşti derby versus Rapid (the team of the Roma community and the railway workers and, by some distance, the only one of the Big 3 who a person of sound mind might support). Steaua trailed 1-0 with time running out when the referee, Alexandru Deaconu, imitated Hugh Dallas’ headbutting the queen incident, only with a cigarette lighter. The game was abandoned and Steaua were given a 3-0 win proving, once and for all, that god does indeed move in mysterious ways. The fact that Deaconu and his assistants were photographed secretly meeting in a petrol station three days prior to the derby obviously has absolutely no significance here!
Romanian Federation Director, Ionut Lupescu, stated: “We can’t tolerate it anymore as refereeing has fallen under the control of a group of club owners and presidents – an efficient way to rig matches”.
Can it be long before we get to see the image of Howard Webb and his assistants hanging around the car park at Knutsford Services waiting for the man? We don’t think so – although it will probably be a golf clubhouse or a masonic hall, away from prying eyes…
Which brings us to the second type of corruption, the type that represents the complete breaking of the link between the Reality and the Illusion of football. For, although Steaua’s title is flawed and invalid, it is simply the standard example of club institutional power. What we have in the Premiership is a very different beast.
Lets focus on those lovable rogues at Chelsea for this one.
We have a suggestion before we start. Branding being everything in football nowadays, the Chelsea brand is dated in many inappropriate ways by the nickname, The Pensioners. The other option, The Blues, similarly shows a typical prawn-sandwich-munching lack of ingenuity. In deference to post-match events at the weekend, we would like to suggest “The Fucking Immigrants” – this is meant, of course, as a reclamation of an abusive term in the same way that it is cool to use nigger, paddy or queer when appropriate.
Anyway, The Fucking Immigrants are the Illusion. Not content with the buying of Premiership matches a la Steaua, Chelsea are also working very closely alongside the Premier League, the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB) and Sky Television to achieve this Illusion.
The media, the advertisers but, far more influentially, the bookmakers and the Premier League all required one thing – the creation of a Premiership conclusion that is fundamentally spectaclist. More people buy the papers as the cliffhanger develops, more beer is drunk as conversations focus on the fake excitement, more people watch the games on tv giving joy to the odious and invalid world of advertising, more bums sit on Oven Chip Stadium seats, more global territories buy the visuals of the manipulated encore of a conclusion, more fortunes are made by bookmakers and their accomplices via the rigging of match outcomes. What could be finer?
It is not only match outcomes that are fixed. The Premier League and Sky have fine tuned the fixture list manipulations to maximise the possibility of the farce going down to the very last game, the very last injury time minute of the very last game if feasible. Or, perhaps, if United and The Fucking Immigrants are only separated by goal difference, we could have a global series of head-to-heads to determine the “actual” winners of the Illusion 2007/08. Why hasn’t Scudie come up with that one yet?
Towards the conclusion of any competition where integrity has not yet turned her head and ran, the issue of fair play and equality of opportunity is everything. The coincidence of kick off times for the last rounds of games is seen as the basic condition of late season fairness around Europe – in the relatively uncorrupt Bundesliga, the last two rounds of games are concurrent while in Serie A, which is slightly more dodgy, the last four rounds all start at the same time. In the English Premiership, by some distance the MOST corrupt of these three territories, only the last round of matches are concurrent. And, even then, advantage through kick off delay is the norm.
The final league table which results from this criminality is the conclusion to this Illusion. And it is false, doubly falsified by further falsification of an earlier fallacy.
The Premiership is not the only English league to demonstrate this imbalance as the decision to allow West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, the latter the most powerful of the relegation threatened teams, to play last Monday night when all the other results were known clearly demonstrates.
Of course, the Scottish Premier League simply extends the season to reach a suitable accommodation of the Illusion. It is worthy of note, here, that FC United of Manchester had to play their last 11 games in a 26 day period and still finished runners up in the UniBond 1st Division North although this, of course, ignores the fact that the SPL and Rangers don’t do second.
Another example of postmodernist reality is provided by Portsmouth who, on top of all other illegality and criminality, have been allowed to reach Wembley for the season’s culinary finale. The FA are clearly in a love triangle with the Premier League and Pompey as the south coast outfit have been buying matches for internal gambles throughout the season in both league and cup. The rewards for such criminalised machinations and the atmospheric calm-before-the-storm of Redknapp’s legal travails is not only an FA Cup Final place but also a listing for Fratton Park on the roster of venues for the Über-Illusion of the 2018 World Cup bid.
How many more spectacular images of a consumerist society are to be laid at the doors of Gaydamak and Redknapp?
Our final port of call, on this voyage around footballing antisocials, is Eastlands. We posted on Sunday that Thaksin had spat out his dummy due to his prime ministerial proxy exhibiting freedom of association. A cat had to be kicked and that feline was Swedish Forest Cat, Sven Goran Eriksson. I am grateful to the citeh-citeh blog (www.citeh-citeh.blogspot.com) for pointing out to us that: “Not content with his photo on the front cover of the Fulham matchday programme, Thaksin then ordered his editors to insert a further six photos in not one, but two self-flattering articles. If this wasn’t enough, he then took to the field before and after the game”.
Then he lost the plot Bangkok style and sacked his one real competitive advantage. Who else is going to go to the City of Manchester under the latter day Far East version of Mussolini?
Noel Gallagher sums it right regarding Shinawatra: “He seems like a bit of a nutcase”. And if Noel met Sven: “I’d give him a big kiss and tell him ‘you know what, take him to the cleaners'”.
Still, can’t wait for the Champions League Final between Manchester’s München Memories Brand and either The Fucking Immigrants (would they become The Fucking Emigrants for the Final?) or The Fucking Scousers (joke). Whichever “English” teams participate in the Champions League Final, the match will undoubtedly be ruined by the impact of Power and Illusion. There is a solution.
UEFA should select an upwardly mobile and talented young referee and three assistants from a random country and secrete them away for three weeks until the day of the event. As the teams line up on the pitch, the match officials will enter via helicopter. At half time, a platoon of Ghurkas will accompany the officials to and from the changing rooms. Additionally, all key match decisions will be determined utilising video replays. Lets see Roman or Tom buy that one!
Feuerbach: “But for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence… truth is considered profane, and only illusion is sacred. Sacredness is in fact held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness”.