It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world – 29th May 2016

The new religion is Football


Following my diatribe on the Leicesterisation of England, are you – like me – sick to the back teeth of all the hoo-ha over who manages a bloody football club?

Press speculation about Manchester United’s manager Louis Van Gaal being fired, and who his replacement may be, has been grabbing the media headlines for months.

There seemed to be no end to it; yet, I wonder, who outside the Manu supporters really gave a damn? I mean it’s only a game of football for God’s sake, yet more column inches are written about Van Gaal and his likely replacement, Jose Mourinho, than is devoted to the fall of a national government.

_87384075_manutdbosslouisvangaalThen, when Manu finally won the FA cup, the hype over Van Gaal and Mourinho became ever more manic. News bulletin after bulletin repeated exactly the same story and BBC put the story at the top of its sports news coverage, online and on air, for day after day, week after week.

Finally, Van Gaal was fired, but even then the media didn’t let up. Jose was being lined up to take over, Jose’s agent was in talks in London with Manu directors – the hype kept going hour after hour, day after day.

Finally, after days of negotiation, the deal was done. Whoopee! Jose was honoured and humbled to be 01_10081604_6f2a5b_2682242agiven the opportunity. Yes, it is easy to feel honoured when somebody has just agreed to pay you 36 million pounds over three years to manage an effing football team.

So, one of the biggest egotists in twenty-first century sport has been given his dream job. That alone tells you something. Well, at least we can hope that now it’s a done deal, the hype will fade from the media headlines … or can we?

Not a bit of it. Jose’s first day at the club will attract thousands of reporters, as will his first training session, his first pre-season game, his first signing, his first premiership game… it will go on and on and on…

03_01151842_74c9bf_2667649aIf he wins a few opening games he will be hailed as the messiah! If he loses a few of the early games, the entire country will be out to get him.

When was it that the fate of a football team and the fate of a football manager became something that was more important than life itself? When, as a civilisation, did we become addicted to such inane, pointless, self-serving events that only serve to massage the egos of hubristic, obscenely rich, self-styled, ‘chosen ones’?

In a nutshell, when did we all go barking mad?

And what’s more, I have a sneaking suspicion that the chosen one will fail. I don’t think that Jose and Manu are as good fit. It will all end in misery. Maybe someone will write a tragic opera about it.

But what do I know?