Football, And Swearing As Stress Release
So, the below text contains quite a lot of swearing. Just a warning, there, for the more easily-offended amongst us.
For the good of my increasingly Tizer-esque blood pressure, I don’t spend much time watching television news, these days. When I do, though, I have a three word phrase that I have at hand as a safety valve. “Go fuck yourself.” It’s a phrase that I’ve pushed to the point of overuse in my own company over the last two or three years or so, and I don’t see that usage dropping at any point in the foreseeable future. It’s succinct, to the point and says everything that I want to emote when I see upward of ninety per cent of politicians, celebrities, or some members of the royal family. Oh, I see Boris Johnson is on the television again, claiming not to have mentioned Turkey during the referendum campaigning in 2016. Go fuck yourself, Johnson. That sort of thing. On last Tuesday night, in front of a television that could only pick up news channels, I may have set a new personal record for usage in one evening.
Of course, because I’m not a psychopath (at least I don’t think I am), I keep this to myself, most of the time. Over the last two or three months or so, though, I’ve increasingly felt as though I wanted to I’ve wanted the people that I want to go fuck themselves to know that I want them to go fuck themselves. And social media, of course, makes it unbelievably easy to do exactly this. A couple of times, in relation to a couple of particularly egregious examples of people, I’ve even typed those words into my phone before remembering my blood pressure, that I am a forty-six year old father of two, and that you lose the right to look down your nose at people who tell others to go fuck themselves when you start doing it yourself. But I’m still thinking it. And I’ve been thinking it a lot.
All of this brings me neatly onto the subject of Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea. Earlier this week, I was reminded of his comments in October that inequality in professional football is a good thing, and that the biggest clubs should not be made to join “the great unwashed” through trying to redistribute some of the money within the game to create a slightly more competition in what is, after all, supposed to be a competitive sport. I don’t know why it escaped me to say this three months ago, but I fail to see that there’s any statute of limitations on this sort of thing, so allow me to rectify this oversight with immediate effect.
Go fuck yourself, Bruce Buck.
Go fuck yourself, and go fuck an entire system that has made it just about impossible for any football club to sustain a place at the top table without the hands of a billionaire holding it in place. Go fuck a culture so entitled that it believes that entirety of the universe revolves around their tiny cabal of clubs, and considers almost every other club as worthy only of their contempt. Go fuck your hoarding of youth players, your role in the inequality that’s growing and growing, rendering every other Premier League club bar six just pawns in your game. Go fuck yourself, Bruce Buck.
This isn’t personal, Chelsea supporters, and to prove it:
Go fuck yourself, Stan Kroenke, you absentee landlord, energy-sapping prick. You’re a top hat, monocle and cane away from being the Monopoly man, having bled Arsenal to the point of anaemia with, not downright moustache-twiddling villainy, just the very wealthy silence that comes with charging of upwards on a grand per season ticket, just because you can. It’s not quite apathy, because you’re more than happy to make money off it, but your club has been overtaken, and from a position of advantage. Go fuck yourselves, Glazer family. Just keep the profits ticking over. How much have you taken out of Manchester United over the years? Actually, don’t tell me. I might projectile vomit. The accumulation of money for the sake of accumulating money. It’s what football is all about, at your rarefied altitude. Go fuck yourself, Daniel Levy. Sure enough, you’ve picked the right colour of seats for North London’s latest enormo-dome, but I don’t think any other club has been quite so tin-eared about the needs its local community, and I fail to see what the people of Tottenham and Upper Edmonton are getting it from it at all apart from something big and shiny that they can look at as they walk past but will never be able to afford to get into, with the possible exception of the occasional early round League Cup match.
It’s not just the owners of the biggest clubs, of course, although you’ll likely be able to guess what I might say to Sheikh Mansour, were I ever to run into him in Morrisons. The same goes for the owners of some other Premier League clubs, such the Davids Sullivan and Gold at West Ham United, Mike Ashley of Newcastle United, or Jorge Mendes. This list isn’t exclusive to the Premier League, either. Go fuck yourselves (deep breath), the Championship club owners who are pearl-clutching over Marcelo Bielsa’s “Spygate” antics as though you’re as pure as the driven snow, Andrea Radrizziani, Roland Duchatelet, Ken Richardson, the entire Oyston family, Sisu, Glenn Tamplin, Meadow Estates and a whole other cavalcade of scumbags who have been or are involved in making modern football the cesspit that it undoubtedly is, these days. Go fuck yourselves, one and all.
There are plenty of non-owners both inside and outside the Premier League who should take the concept of self-love through to its natural conclusion, as well. Go fuck yourself, Pep Guardiola. The entire English league system isn’t set up for your benefit alone, you know. Take your fevered B team fantasies, and shove them up your arse. And go fuck yourself Jurgen Klopp, with your carefully-cultivated “I’m just a passionate manager” schtick, all of which most likely shields the PR machine from a temper that is surely downright intimidatory, when the mask slips. And my God, go double fuck yourself, Jose Mourinho. I mean, at least if Manchester United have to start trampling everyone else underfoot again, at least the rest of us can take a tiny amount of solace from the fact that it’s shown you up for the busted flush that you so obviously are, now. And you don’t even have to be a successful manager, either. For example – and there are, of course, many, many others – go fuck yourself, Neil Warnock, you half-man-half-crow, living embodiment of the breakdown of the post-war consensus.
Of course, once you get going on this sort of thing, it can become difficult to know where to stop. There are plenty of fans who can go fuck themselves, but let’s reserve it on this occasion for far-right fringe groups, the swivel-eyed partisans who abuse online and can only see right from wrong through the prism of whether it benefits them or not. There’s no particular club whose fans can go fuck themselves – if there’s one thing that having done this for so long has taught me, it’s that the supporters of all football clubs have way more in common than they have between them – but there are patterns of behaviour which can, and those who indulge themselves definitely can, up to and including that group that I have found myself drifting towards recently, those who spit their bile all over those hell holes that social media have become. I almost had to tell me to go fuck myself, there.
There are undoubtedly people who I’ve left out of this that I shouldn’t have done. For example, there are plenty of people in the football media – probably too many to mention – who cause the veins in my temples to rise involuntarily, and there even players who wear the wrong colour of boots or pull the wrong facial expression in front of television cameras during matches. Actually, there is an increasing number of them. But there comes a point at which even the venting starts to fail to act as the pressure release that it should. And that point is probably the one at which you find yourself writing 1,300 words about it as your chest starts to involuntarily start to clench for the fourth time this morning and a mild fizzing sounds starts to emanate from your right arm. Perhaps it’s at this point that we should consider the possibility that professional football can be viewed as little more than an elaborate form of pantomime, and that none of this really matters. Or perhaps it’s time to start looking up local yoga classes. Again.
With all of that said, though… go fuck yourself, Neil Custis.