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Jacob Sweetman: Visions Of Johannesburg

Evil Sepp Blatter's plan to stop the good people of Berlin enjoying the World Cup this summer was thwarted by the brave tabloids. So now we'll be able to relax in our deckchairs and hopefully avoid a sight of even more horrific proportions...

Image for Jacob Sweetman: Visions Of Johannesburg
David “real football man” Cameron with ex-footballer/BBC sportscaster Gary Lineker. Photo by Andrew Parsons (courtesy of the Conservative Party)

So evil Sepp Blatter’s plan to stop the good people of Berlin enjoying the World Cup this summer was thwarted by the brave tabloids and their readership. Like a cross between a Swiss Baron Greenback and Moriarty he had decided that any competition to the officially FIFA sanctioned fan mile just wasn’t, er, cricket and would personally send out crack squads of winged monkeys to shut the illegal screens down across the city. Yep, a World Cup with no screens at the beach bars or in the Kneipers. It’s not often that I would agree wth the massed readership of Bild, but this time they worked a bloody treat. So instead we can relax in our deckchairs and hopefully avoid a sight of even more horrific proportions.

I am becoming increasingly worried about the prospects of England winning the World Cup. It’s not the winning that I’m scared of (let’s be honest here) but the prospect of that bellended-fucking-marmot David Cameron being there to bask in the glory of a victory in Johannesburg on the 11th of July as prime minister. And if it happened you just know that he would be there, because Dave is an Aston Villa fan, yeah, a real football man.

I always lazily use the the term “the soul of football” and should be brought up on it more often. Football is a construct, a game no less, and it has no more of a soul than a Ford Mondeo has personality. Sure, the person driving it might have a personality, and it might have an edgy paint job (though both these scenarios are pretty unlikely), but the car itself?

The problem is our assumption that football used to be run for the benefit of the fans and it is only in the recent past that this has changed for the worse. With very few exceptions this is patently utter balls. Attaching yourself to a football club was a cheap way of attaining local prestige and a chance to look benevolent in the local rags. Only the scale has changed. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get a bit riled when they continue to exploit us beacause we are stupid enough to believe the fallacy that our club has a soul. And in this week of the British general election the same old bullshit is coming out. “I must be seen to be a football fan.”

The Labour Party also do it, and think that announcing plans to make German style ownership of clubs with real fan involvement three weeks before the end of 13 years of government will make all the difference. But although he may look like a Bagpuss doll who has been sucked through one of the telepods in The Fly backwards, at least Gordon Brown has an attachment to Raith Rovers.

This is mostly facetious, but Cameron’s fingerprints were all over the farce of ITV Digital which went bust owing Football League clubs around 180 million quid (though he’d taken his 90 grand a year and jumped ship by the time that happened). It isn’t recorded how many tears he shed when they defaulted. Jeremy Hunt, the Tory Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is also on record as saying “Milton Keynes can be rightly proud of their football club… it really is fantastic“ which just goes to show how “into“ their football they are.

Anyway, sorry, this has very little to do with the EXBERLINER sports desk’s brief but I felt a rant coming on. I’ve felt it coming for ages actually. I just don’t want to see Silvio Berlusconi’s mate (Fabio Capello), flanked by a Tory prime minister swooning over Nelson Mandela and the World Cup all under the evil watch of Sepp Blatter in the beach bars this summer. Fortunately England won’t win it, even if Blatter himself now says we are all now allowed to enjoy the spectacle.