What The Reaction To Newcastle’s Relegation Tells Us About Ourselves

The last day of the Premier League season will usually bring a last flurry of activity from the press, and last night they went into meltdown. The Guardian, for example, managed three articles on its Sport Blog page in the subject of Newcastle United’s relegation. By the time this has finished, we’ll have managed two on here. There is a reason for this – the basic rules of supply and demand. Ultimately, there is a voracious appetite for stories about Newcastle’s downfall which transcends even the usual Monday morning bickering that dominates the message boards, forums and blogs. The reaction to recent events at St James Park seems to have been a mass outbreak of schadenfreude. There is an extent to which this is merely a broader representation of the culture that we inhabit. As I write this, “Britain’s Got Talent” is playing merrily away to itself in the background. Sometimes, it feels as if everything that we do is some sort of talent show. MPs fiddling their expenses are rounded upon by the public, who are clamouring for a general election. We want, apparently, to vote them out. Football, of course, is a slightly different matter. We can’t vote football teams out. However, when providence goes against them, we are more than happy to indulge in a spot of laughing at them and pointing. To the nearest extent...

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