Once more the ruling party in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives or Tories, have decided that having a row with footballers is a more than worth while activity.
Why they do this is not entirely clear, however, I believe I have an answer and it is rooted in old fashioned class warfare. the need to be seen as ‘popular’ and jealousy.
Most footballers in the world tend to be poor, working class or middle class. They tend to be young and especially in the UK rich. In the class ridden society that is the UK they come from the wrong stock and what is even worst these modern day footballer’s have a tendency to have a conscience.
Tories are OK with money if you know your place and be grateful to be included in the upper echelons of society. The Tories are also happy if footballers practice the usual young men activity of being over sexualised, drunken and typical tabloid fodder. What they do not like is very rich people having views and opinions on the ills of society.
Some footballers have always had a view on society throughout history what has made this present era different is the make up of the footballers, the restrictions that footballers are under and the power of social media.
When the massive money started flowing into the game and football wages growing rapidly there was an element of jealousy started to permeate the game. Football authorities started to be pressurised by society and then the ruling elites to curb excessive behaviour such as sex parties, heavy drinking, gambling and flaunting of wealth. So the Football Associations introduced drug testing, coaches started to create healthy regimes to make sure the investment in footballers had the best chance to make a good return. This government could see that any dubious action meant acres of press and a massive diversion to problems in the country governance. Plus if they did well it was easy to get some reflected glory by pretending to be interested in the pastimes of the plebs and hoi polloi.
So with sober and monitored players there is a chance of questioning and appreciating where they come from and some footballers with the ability to say things that millions can hear bypassing the old communication gate keepers such as the very right wing press we have in the UK.
The press tend to look down on young people behaviour and hype any bad news that may emanate from these young men and women as bad new sells papers and click bait. So when they started expressing ideas that society is not working properly, at first elites found it amusing. But around 2015/16 things changed.
I look at the incident when Leicester City players James Pearson, Tom Hopper, Adam Smith filmed themselves having sex and abusing a Thai sex worker. They then shared it and the media got hold of it. This was a major embarrassment to the club, the owner who was a Thai national and led to the manager Nigel Pearson who is the father of one of the players, to get the sack.
Things looked bad for Leicester City but then the most astonishing happened. Leicester City got Claudio Ranieri as the new manager and he led them to win the English Premier League at 5000/1 making it the biggest outsider to win anything in sport. Clearly the team was built by Nigel Pearson and this was noticed by ordinary footballers in England.
A lot of footballers calmed down but the Tories saw a thing and they would use it for distraction.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 society went into melt down and the George Floyd murder gave young people a reason to break out of the lockdown imposition and the world was never the same again.
A lot of footballers are from communities that saw the George Floyd video, experienced racism and came from poor backgrounds. One player called Marcus Rashford decided to do something and created food banks which are places where food is given to people who didn’t have food to eat. He provided books and other learning material to children who had their education interrupted. All well and good.
He over stepped the mark when he lobbied the government to provide free school meals to children during this period. The government said no way and that he should keep his nose out of things he has no business in. This led to a massive campaign by ordinary people who said he had a right to voice his opinion and yes the government should help poor children to have free school meals. The government relented and provided the free school meals for a period.
Football was started up and Marcus Rashford was performing OK but not brilliantly. The free school dinners was taken away but the country was still in lockdown after the government came up with a mad policy called ‘Eat Out to Help Out’. Eat Out to Help Out became a super spreader of new Covid variants and the country had to go into lock down again!
Marcus Rashford once again lobbied for free school meals for poor children. Once again the government under Boris Johnson said no and his MP’s and supporters said he should not get involved in politics and should concentrate at getting his game sorted. Once again the vast majority of the nation rose up and said they supported Marcus Rashford and the government relented once again.
While this was going on, footballers started taking the knee to point out that racism should not be in football and action must be taken to get rid of it out of football and society in general. This campaign went on into the Euro 2021.
Once again the Tories attacked the players saying it was Marxism and they should concentrate on football and not get involved trying to sort out societies problems. Basically they were taking the line that Donald Trump took with Colin Kaepernick when he carried out the old 1960’s civil rights gesture of ‘taking the knee’,
Some of the Conservative MP’s said they would not watch the England games if the players continued to take the knee and even the Home Secretary Priti Patel said they should not take the knee and she had no idea why they were protesting. They even encouraged supporter to boo the players if they took the knee.
The only problem with this strategy of divide and conquer was that the England team was probably the best England team since 1966. We at Pokerknave took advantage of this insight and as we did in 2018 and 2021 and made a few quid.
The nation took the team to their heart and by the time the final came along the Tories were looking really stupid, petty and weird!
By the time there was proposal for a European Super League Boris Johnson decided he would make sure that he was on the winning side and jumped all over the idea and backed ex-player Gary Neville in stopping it. when the real Tory policy would be maximise profits at any cost even if it is the traditional English league game.
Now we have the drama of TV pundit Gary Lineker and his view that the words used by Home Secretary Suella Braverman was equivalent to the words in 1930’s Germany in connection with their refugee/immigration policy.
Suella Braverman and the Tories went into predictable elite mode and piled into Gary Lineker. The right wing media really went to town because it was the perfect diversion from the policy which the governments own legal advisors say it will likely get defeated in court if not parliament.
It also provided diversional cover for the Tories as Gary Lineker is seen by the elites as a opiniated former footballer who seems to want to have a view about their policies which seem to not work properly. Policies such as Brexit, inflation, fuel, strikes, etc. They regard him as a ‘woke’ priest and basically dislike him with a passion.
However, Gary Lineker is basically a nice guy who did not get a red card in all the years he played football and is quite liked by football fans for his self deprecating humour.
The BBC leadership have been under pressure for pro-Tory corruption in its leadership and politics. The BBC have even pulled a program from David Attenborough because it deals with climate change!
Match Of The Day the longest running sports program fronted by Gary Lineker has been dramatically changed at the moment because fellow pundits and the football layers union are not co-operating with the BBC so it will look strange to watch.
This is great news for the government as their supporters can bring up issues such as Lineker’s pay, other pundits pay and create division. It’s a simple strategy because freedom of speech is such an ethereal subject most people are too busy or stressed to get involved.
But it is not playing the way it should and slowly the government are looking seriously dodgy and crass. Yes the issue is a mess with the sight of criminals making serious cash in transporting desperate people from Franc/Belgium to England so they can claim asylum. The fact that these criminals live in the UK and probably bank in the the UK is not being discussed.
I have a feeling that the government is going to lose this argument. Why? Freedom of speech is airy fairy, but losing it is beginning to be seen as a human right, Human right is where the real battle is being set. Anyone against human rights an idea in which Winston Churchill was instrumental in getting the world to adopt after the disaster of World War 2 is either a fool or a knave. There is no other alternative which makes sense.
The Tories are going to lose this battle.