When I sit down for my tea of an evening there’s always one thing I make sure I don’t do when I switch on the TV
And that is turn on Eastenders or Coronation Street.
As a child I was force fed these, along with Neighbours and Home & Away…with the odd dose of the Scouse crime drama….Brookside.
Soap operas are part of British culture. But in this country we take it to the highest (or maybe lowest) common denominator. We obsess. We identify. We wish to immerse ourselves in another world that, inspite being fairly insipid and hollow, we find strangely……..addictive
The transfer window in essence was a good idea on its conception. It was supposed to support a balanced playing field…and in many ways it does! Can you imagine how many more players City and Chelsea would have bought if they were allowed free reign to pillage the market whenever they felt?
However, a cottage industry has developed as a by-product of the window:
The press have ALWAYS written about transfer gossip since the start of time. The recently killed-in-action News Of The World made a whole multi million pound business out of it…where gossip reigned supreme over fact. It was the first steps in its downfall. But the template is clear: How do you get people to read and believe what you want them to believe? How do you get them to accept your agenda..without ever revealing your hand? Yes..its a big game of poker. Bluff and counter bluff. Its a game. But the stake on the table isn’t some brightly coloured chips representing dollars or pounds.
The currency is the hearts and minds of the common football fan. Yes..that will be YOU and ME then.
The Wesley Sneijder story conforms to the formula that any ‘news’ publishing source uses these days (and with that you could mean broadsheets or your common blog) One day you report interest. The next day you retract that interest. Then a source sheds new light. Then the clubs have met at a service station on the M25. Then they cant agree on a deal so its off. Then the player tells a friend how he admires his new suitors………….
See how this works?
And the funny thing is WE ALL KNOW EXACTLY THIS IS HOW IT WORKS!
Now I’m not gonna blab on about credibility…how some journos are saints and others are gutter press pigs. Essentially they want the same bit of the pie…that slice of Battenberg in you brain that they can pollute, making you their junkie whore. And with the advent of social media, its even easier for them to obtain from the needy, weak and naive. Just 140 characters and BANG…you’re like a lil lamb eating out of their hands at a city park farm. Its………..easy. And yes I have fallen for it..and as a result I have unfollowed every journo and hack on Twitter. They dont have ‘opinions’ about football…they earn a wage from it. It is their bread and butter.
As a note and sidepoint, that is exactly what I didn’t want The Faithful to be. We’re not a news source..so we don’t have to conform to type. You like our writing..or you don’t. You visit the site, but were not going to twist your arm (though we appreciate every single one of you that supports us and our sacred football club!)
The blatant lies you read as headlines now is amazing: ‘Top United Striker to leave club’…will generally turn out to be about Nicky Ajose signing for Peterborough. ‘Top United player says he hates life in England’…will normally turn out to be Paul Pogba saying hes not keen on the shops at the Trafford Centre. To be frank, its gone beyond a joke.
The Sneijder deal may or may not still happen. But there are few facts. The facts we do know is that Sir Alex has said the press make up rubbish, when asked about the player. David Gill is allegedly in Milan..though he is quite clearly in Zurich. Inter have said they don’t want to sell, though the papers tell you they are liars. And Sneijder has said he is incredibly happy living in Milan, though in a Cesc Fabregas kind of way it’s allegedly his dream to play for United. These are the only facts we know. It’s really not alot. Certainly not enough to write a factual account of what is going on.
Yet fans still wish to dream about things that are not there…which is why when they are faced with a transfer of a less glamorous prospect..say that of Ashley Young..they go into a spasm and complete denial, which becomes born as embryonic hatred on their time-lines and Facebook status’. I find it all very very odd.
The question of whether Sneijder is the right player for MUFC is a relevant one. The fanbase has convinced itself that Paul Scholes has been an attacking creative midfielder the past 3 years (??) and therefore we need an attacking creative midfielder to replace him. They once again neglect fact, having had their brains influenced by the tabloid culture of our times. The facts once again are clear. Last season United were epic at home. And we were moderate away. This wasn’t about creativity…it was about steel and discipline. Do we need a Paul Scholes? Yes…but the Paul Scholes that bossed from deep. That inspite of his well earned reputation of not being able to tackle, always put his foot in.
But facts don’t sell newspapers. And facts sure don’t make you click on web titles. You will always go for the one with the most meat on the bone. They used to say ‘Never judge a book by its cover’…but we like pretty pictures in this day and age so f&%k all that! These are the rules.
Logic dictates that Sir Alex has just torched £50 million on three very good prospects, but in a culture where glamour purveys..this is not enough. The rumour mill used to be this mythical creature that we would refer to when talking about a story that was relatively far-fetched. However, that beast now exists..in every smartphone and laptop on the planet. And oh how we LOVE IT! We give it its lunch and then it feeds us a pack of acid house illusions. Welcome to 2011.
If we get the Dutchman, there many more questions that are posed than just answers. I will celebrate like everyone else if it all comes to fruition. But I believe that football and the art behind it come from logic and tactics. No one ever really won a football match by luck. There was always a technical seed hidden behind the husk of the idea, or piece of magic produced by a player. Logic dictates that United need a player of steel. A player of workrate. A player called Owen Hargreaves with knees included this time. Fletcher, Carrick and Anderson are all valid members of the squad for the coming season, and they have the medals to prove it. But if you’re gonna add to them, and you take into account we have Rooney, Nani and Young who link the midfield with a great level of flair…then suddenly the need for an attacking midfielder is completely obsolete. Yes, if you were playing Football Manager…you would DEFINATELY sign Sneijder. The money would come out of that mythical bank account, and you could fashion your team to fantasy league proportions. All of this is indeed fun…but its not the truth.
I firmly believe Sir Alex will bring in the player he believes will do the job for United, and I firmly believe there will be a number of United fans completely disillusioned by his decision if his name doesn’t start with Wesley. City fans can expect ‘fantasy signings’ But its not how we roll at United.
“You Cant Always Get What You Want…” …the Rolling Stones said. “But If You Try Sometimes, You Might Just Find…..YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.”
This statement should be the Manchester United mantra.