“Arsene Wenger, apparently, is not happy with Jose Mourinho; and Brendan Rodgers, apparently, is not happy with Mario Balotelli. But Liverpool might finish top-four and Arsenal could do well and Chelsea will definitely get more of a run for it and . . . Sheeeesh! I’ll spare you Van Gaal … seriously gentlemen? Is this all we have to look forward to for the next nine months?”
Paul Kimmage, Irish Independent
During one of the most mundane transfer windows in memory, following hot-on-the-heels of one of the most insipid seasons in PL history, the best league in the world is kicking off again and certain aspects have already begun to grate. Like most fans I wait expectantly for the actual football to begin with a mixture of curiosity, nervousness and hope that this could be our season, whether that be the Championship, European qualification or a glorious cup run. However, the excitement of starting it all afresh again, with a clean slate of zeros across the board, all equal and jostling for position at the start of the 38 game marathon; the child-like impatience to see my team in action is unfortunately tempered by the obnoxious child-like behaviour of someone who should be a leading figure in the game.
Mourhino. Surely even Chelsea fans must be getting sick of him. For someone who once seemed a breath of fresh air, an astute tactical innovator and a mischievous provocateur, he has slowly revealed his true self over the last decade. His relentless attention seeking, once thought to be a tactic to conveniently divert attention from his team when required, has now become so insufferable that there is no doubt that it is both self-serving and worse; boring. Taking a pot-shot at Rafa’s wife because she made some tongue-in-cheek remark in a women’s magazine, stinks of the narcissistic personality disorders one associates with workplace bullies and highly-strung teenage girls. The whole hand-shake debacle with Wegner (who goes up in my estimation every time he bristles at the sight or mere mention of Mourinho), the criticism of other managers in the league, and the melodramatic throwing away of the runners-up medal after the community shield game, all point to a deeply unhappy man, who is unsatisfied with his work because he now knows that he will never have that which he craves most; the love of the football community. He has written himself into the history books, he has won all the titles, and he commands the respect of the masses, but he will never be loved. Serves the brat right. To be labelled boring is the ultimate insult to an exhibitionist like him.
However, growing bored of Mourinho instead of getting annoyed or angry with him is a slippery slope. Boredom with behaviour like his can be a dangerous and insidious thing. Just look at FIFA. Probably one of the most inherently corrupt multinational organisations ever, the non-profit football governing body continues to suck billions of Euro out of developing countries on a leap-yearly basis. These billions continue to line the pockets of dubiously run associations, shell companies, dis-ingenuous initiatives and programs, enterprises and scams until the spare-change trickles down to the grassroots clubs, who can now apply for a 1000 euro grant to paint the changing rooms and fix the toilets. Meanwhile, the chief-executives, secretaries and the rest of the suits and blazers that run football continue to stuff their faces with FIFA’s largesse.
One blazer in particular grew extremely fat from FIFA’s philanthropy. The whole scandal was instigated by the FBI’s investigation into former CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer, an extremely rotund man who would use a mobility scooter to haul his ample ass around Manhattan as he moved from feast to feast. His hunger for Michelin-starred food was only matched by his appetite for fat greasy bribes. This man creamed so much money from backhanders in relation to World Cups from 1998 to 2010 that he maintained two luxury apartments in Trump Towers, New York; one for himself, and one for his cat! Yes, his cat. His fucking cat. What could be less boring than a fucking cat living in a penthouse apartment in Trump Towers? Yet we’re almost immune to it.
Blazer was caught for tax evasion (he was raking in so much cash he just didn’t bother to declare anything) and subsequently squealed, leading to the dramatic arrest of a number of high profile FIFA officials earlier this year. Information comes pouring out of the media in relation to bribing FIFA Executive Committee members for hosting tournaments, bribes for France ’98, Japan 2002, South Africa, Qatar, Russia. Bribes in relation to broadcasting rights and sponsorship were also a lucrative source. But this is all old news, passé, uninteresting and boring, and that’s not healthy.
Blatter himself has come out relatively unscathed. He actually stood for re-election in the middle of the crisis and was incredibly voted back in with a huge majority. Although he has subsequently agreed to step aside sometime soon, Teflon Sepp is most likely immune to prosecution himself as he hasn’t needed to take a backhander in some time. The man allegedly pays himself around ten million a year, but doesn’t get to spend any of it because he lives on expenses. Before laying low in Switzerland for the last few months he would swan around the world, 1st class, stay in $5000 a night hotel rooms, dining on dinners costing thousands, every evening. While at the same time the world’s second most expensive stadium, in Brazil, is now primarily a bus-park; the next two World Cups are to be held in (1.) a post-communist neo-fascist dictatorship rife with homophobia, racism and corruption, and (2) a fucking desert; and all the while little Johnny Irish can’t retain possession of the ball because he doesn’t have a decent coaching structure.
And nothing changes. Sepp will step aside, and probably be replaced by Platini; who also voted for Qatar, not because the French president told him that it would be good for business, or because some of his family are intimately connected with Qatari football, but because … oh wait, he’s never adequately explained his decision. The World Cup will still go on in two years regardless of how many war crimes continue to be committed by the host nation, or how many migrant workers continue to perish constructing football stadia in the most inhospitable locations. Nothing changes because it’s boring. Football is exciting, football administration is boring. In the words of Ronaldo only this week;
“This is bullshit. Speak about FIFA? I don’t care about FIFA. And Qatar…I don’t give a fuck. What you want me to do?”.
So let’s just forget about all that shit and get on with the football, because that’s what it’s all about, right? I think Arsenal have a really good chance this year, blah blah blah, and might even give Chelsea a good run for their money, knowing nod-nod, while City and United will battle it out in the other top four spots, furrowed earnestness. Liverpool will be looking to build while Tottenham … yawn…must improve…Zzzzzzz.