This is an interesting attempt

In the Football Association brochure that sanctioned the breakaway Premier League 25 years ago at the dawn of the first pay-TV deal, no mention was made of the personal fortunes it would make for the owners of the bigger clubs. Led by the self-appointed “Big Five” of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, the First Division clubs had angled and threatened throughout the 1980s to leave the century-old Football League, so as not to share the new TV millions with the clubs in the three lower divisions. The FA’s culture had narrowed and curdled through that decade, which ended in 96 people being unlawfully killed at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final which the governing body itself had commissioned at Hillsborough.

The general tone seems to be that there’s a connection between Hillsborough and the Sky TV deals. Been taking lessons from Laurie Penny on how the patriarchy causes everything I fear.

51 comments on “This is an interesting attempt

  1. Oh it’s the Grauniad – quelle surprise. Guardian journalist (now ex-Guardian, I think) and Manchester City fan David Conn wrote a book about the takeover of the club by Sheik Mansour, called Richer Than God. It ending up being a polemic about how money was ruining the game and how he longed for the days of the Kippax, jumpers for goalposts etc., and he stopped going because it was “no longer the club he loved”. Had the Sheik not put his money in, the club would have gone to the wall.

    What he completely ignored was the investment that has been made in the local area and Manchester in general by the Sheik, The Etihad Campus has transformed the area and now boasts the best football academy in the country. The 6th form college near the campus was built with considerable investment from City Group and the local housing is much improved. Sure there are still areas around the club that are less than salubrious but given time Beswick, Ardwick and Gorton will become totally regenerated.

    I wonder how he feels now that the club has possibly the best coach in the world in Pep Guardiola and has produced some of the best football I’ve ever had the privilege to see City play.

  2. “The first official report by Lord Justice Taylor identified the causes of the disaster, but the families were still somehow consigned to a 27-year campaign for the truth to be legally established by the new inquests verdicts in April 2016. It was Taylor’s second, final report into safety at sport generally which condemned the governance of football, the state of the grounds, the self-interest and greed of owners and directors, and the dismissive attitudes to supporters who stayed loyal throughout.”

    ‘Stayed loyal’ by turning up late without tickets?

    “The clubs accepted Taylor’s recommendation for grounds to be compulsorily all-seater, which was never willed or agreed by supporters organisations who are still arguing for safe standing.”

    If you know how many seats you have, you know how many people you should let into the grounds. How is that not safer?

  3. The Etihad Campus has transformed the area

    To be fair, the installation of a functioning phone box would have done that. I see they call it Eastlands nowadays, when I was there it was Openshaw and Mongol hordes gave it a wide berth.

  4. I wonder how he feels now that the club has possibly the best coach in the world in Pep Guardiola and has produced some of the best football I’ve ever had the privilege to see City play.

    Oh c’mon, it’s nothing compared to the Maine Road days with Joe “Dogs of War” Royle: Shaun Goater, Ian Bishop, Richard Edghill, Paul Dickov, Paulo Wanchope, George Weah (!!!), Nicky Weaver, Mark Kennedy, Danny Tiatto, Kevin Horlock, etc.

    95th minute winner against the mighty Gillingham? Magic!

    😉

  5. Tim Newman,

    As a child fan of city in the 90s I remember that team very well and that match. Met goater and royale in the Maine road car park once too!

  6. As a child fan of city in the 90s I remember that team very well and that match.

    I watched it on TV, but went to Maine Road a lot the following season in the 1st division. Best match was against Leeds in the FA cup, Bishop slapped in a half-volley from miles out, Goater scored by being three metres offside, but Leeds won 3-2 anyway. That’s when Leeds had that awesome team, the one that bankrupted them.

    The irony is I’m a Man Utd fan, but Old Trafford was impossible to get into. I did an industrial placement with a load of City fans who brought me along to Maine Road, which was only nearby where I lived. Students could get in for a tenner. Happy days.

  7. “‘Stayed loyal’ by turning up late without tickets?”

    Didn’t you hear, JuliaM? A judge said it wasn’t the fans fault. I guess a gust of wind caused them to be pushing against the turnstiles in large numbers..

  8. @Rob Harris

    “Met goater and royale in the Maine road car park once too!”

    That was their training ground at the time, right?

  9. Quite, BiSw. Used to go to Lords for the tests, when I lived in London. Final day of the Windies tour. Match & series on a knife-edge. Excited Windies supporters streaming in. Mixed in with England fans. Long queues at the gates. The match was riveting. Much alcohol was consumed on all sides. England clinched it in the final overs. England fans streamed out onto the streets of N. London in celebratory mood but commiserating with the disappointed West Indians walking by their side.
    A few police lounged about throughout the day, enjoying the sunshine.

    But football fans…

  10. Mrs big’s first match was a 6 nil thrashing of Swindon at Maine road. It was downhill all the way from there. Port vale fans sang “going down going down…”, the response was “so are we, so are we…”

  11. Tim Newman,

    I’ll see your 95th minute winner against the mighty Gillingham and raise you a 94th minute winner against QPR. (Sergio Agueroooooooo 93 minutes and 20 seconds on 13 May 2012 – I was there that day).

  12. The general tone seems to be that there’s a connection between Hillsborough and the Sky TV deals.

    An extremely fucking dishonest one, at that.

  13. Tim Newman:

    Oh c’mon, it’s nothing compared to the Maine Road days with Joe “Dogs of War” Royle:

    Heady days indeed. Horlock sent off for walking aggressively, Morrison sent off for licking Collymore’s nose and much self-deprecating humour on the terraces. Franny Lee’s “Cups for Cock-ups” etc.

    But nothing compared to the Div 1 season under Keegan – Berkovic and Benarbia in midfield, the Goat upfront. Tiatto was a beast, feed the Goat and he will score (although his first touch was abysmal). I’ve met Shaun Goater a few times – a lovely, lovely man.

    The last few years has led to the legendary status of the likes of Kompany, Hart, Zabaleta (send-off gift was a season ticket for life), Toure, and Aguero. Scintillating football at times, and typical City on occasion.

    BTW, 95th minute goal v Gillingham was the equalizer. City won the tie on penalties.

  14. John Square, City’s training ground was just up the road from Maine Road on Platt Lane.

  15. @Tim N

    “The irony is I’m a Man Utd fan”

    Well of course you are – you’re from Wales!

  16. Well of course you are – you’re from Wales!

    Indeed, the nearest professional team was Swansea – 60 miles away, the nearest 1st division team (as it was back then) was Aston Villa 100+ miles away. Everyone in SW Wales supported either Liverpool or Man Utd (and Liverpool were an awful lot better than Man Utd in the mid ’80s). In my defence, I also earned my stripes living in Manchester for 7 years.

  17. John Square, City’s training ground was just up the road from Maine Road on Platt Lane.

    Yup, you could walk right past the chain-link fence and see *the* most incredibly turf you’ve ever laid eyes upon.

  18. Ah, the Guardian, got to love them;

    “Comments were opened in error and will now close.”

  19. Yes, those were the days. All the 1-0 defeats to a Kit Symons own goal. The near-riot after being beaten by (I think) Huddersfield. Keegan’s 1-1-8 formation.

    You’re making me all nostalgic now. I’m glad at least they got rid of the crappy badge and we’ve got the old one back now.

  20. The near-riot after being beaten by (I think) Huddersfield.

    Back in Div 1, 1999/2000 season? Yeah, top 3 was Huddersfield, City, and Barnsley IIRC. City beat Barnsley amid much singing about sheep-shagging Yorkshiremen; songs were repeated the next week for Huddersfield, but they lost.

    Gerard Wiekens at the back with Alf Inge Haaland, wasn’t it?

  21. BiG, I was in the director’s box that day. Corporate lunch with a client and was sat just behind Buzzer and Skip.

    It was considered poor form to stand and cheer up there, but the entire box to a man (and woman) helped raise the roof.

  22. Tim N, that was before Alfie had his career ended by that thug, Roy Keane.

    Alfie tended to play the holding midfield role. If memory serves it may have been Wiekens and Richard Jobson in central defence.

  23. “The general tone seems to be that there’s a connection between Hillsborough and the Sky TV deals.”

    Tim didn’t you know it was all Thatcher and The Sun’s fault? Scousers can do no wrong, everyone (in Liverpool) knows that.

  24. Comments were opened in error and will now close.

    You can imagine the panic amongst the noodle-armed strangebeards at the thought of football fans commenting on one of their articles. A near miss!

  25. You can imagine the panic amongst the noodle-armed strangebeards at the thought of football fans commenting on one of their articles. A near miss!

    I take it that pretending to enjoy soccer is no longer cool and trendy among the grauniadista set?

  26. @ BiW
    It’s now over 50 years since Harold Willsoon claimed credit for Geoff Hurst winning the World Cup, so most guardianistas weren’t even born. What’s cool and trendy is Women’s Cricket which currently (well, yesterday at least) dominates BBC Sport ahead of the Open and the Tour de France

  27. What’s cool and trendy is Women’s Cricket

    I watched some of that yesterday. Fuck me, it was under-13s stuff. Englishwoman dropped an absolute dolly which would have cost her the WC in the man’s game. Instead the hapless batswoman got bowled next ball by a delivery that took half an hour to get there. It was woeful.

  28. JuliaM:”If you know how many seats you have, you know how many people you should let into the grounds. How is that not safer?”

    The standing used in much of Europe and for which the Football Supporters Federation (amongst others) campaigns is rail standing. Everyone has a numbered space on a rail. So there is no significant difference in that regard between seating and rail standing.

  29. @ Tim
    I avoided watching it.
    If the Guardianistas think it’s cool the quality is likely to be awful.
    They distract attention from the examples where some women actually *are* good at sport.

  30. @ Tim Newman
    e.g, a couple of years ago one of my less bad off-the-cuff remarks to a female athlete, as she went past again, “It’s bad enough when your father laps me” (because he is universally known to be *that much* better than I – it turns out that she is too).

  31. “I watched some of that yesterday. Fuck me, it was under-13s stuff. Englishwoman dropped an absolute dolly which would have cost her the WC in the man’s game. Instead the hapless batswoman got bowled next ball by a delivery that took half an hour to get there. It was woeful.”

    I can’t watch women’s cricket, its like watching a load of middle aged men play (ie me). Not very good and certainly not deserving of being on Sky Sports.

    I’m waiting for the first sex swap cricketer – it’ll be interesting to watch some big muscly ‘woman’ hurl the ball down at say low 80s and pick up 8-10 every game.

  32. This whole thread makes about as much sense to me as an economics textbook does to Richard Murphy.

  33. It’s now over 50 years since Harold Willsoon claimed credit for Geoff Hurst winning the World Cup, so most guardianistas weren’t even born.

    I was thinking more of chancers like Bliar and Mandelson pretending to support teams from Oop North.

  34. At school in the 60s in Rossendale, the fanbase split more or less equally between ManU & Burnley. Not that I cared a whit – sport & me never got on then & haven’t to this day.

  35. @ BiW
    When I was young the best football team in Blair’s constituency, Sedgefield, was Billingham Synthonia, an amateur team formed (mostly, originally entirely) of workers at the ICI factory in Billingham. Hartlepools United (in those days Hartlepool and West Hartlepool were separate towns) propped up Division 3 North and almost every year needed to be re-elected to the Football League.
    Then, as now, there were three clubs that mattered Newcastle Utd, Sunderland and Middlesbrough (in that order).
    I am afraid that I just overlooked any pretence that the Scot and the Londoner supported local clubs because they didn’t have a serious local club to support so I missed your point.

  36. Bloke in Wales: “I was thinking more of chancers like Bliar and Mandelson pretending to support teams from Oop North.”

    To be fair to Mandelson (not a commonly used expression) I don’t think he ever claimed to be a football supporter. He went along to a couple of Hartlepool games and became their president but that seemed OK as the local MP. I never understood Blair’s claim to be passionate about Newcastle United. His childhood was in the North East but his football allegiance was so obviously fictitious it made no sense. Similar of course to Cameron’s love of a team in claret and blue whose name kept escaping him.

  37. @bind:
    In the immortal words of James Alexander Gordon,

    South East relegation league, division 4.
    Noodle-armed strangebeards nil, swivel-eyed loons, one.

  38. The kit Symons own goal defeat was against wolves, December 1997. Shortly after the Huddersfield incident and the port vale chants referenced above.

    Incidentally the highlight of that season was the friendly against Jamaica. A 0-0 memorable for the quality of the passive smoking.

  39. This feels kind of off-topic for the Man City comments thread… but if you want to rage at biased guardian reporting cycling is where it’s at.

    On a random day I visited their cycling page and read a ‘witty’ Marina Hyde rant about Sky. I counted and it turned out that every single article except for one (out of a dozen IIRC) were just throwing mud at Sky cycling.

    How many ways can you dress up a legal Wiggins TUE and a single Jiffy bag from three years ago that actually probably didn’t have anything especially dodgy in it? Fair enough if you don’t like it, but they were making out like they had just caught out Lance Armstrong all over again.

    I noted this factual observation in the comments and got wiped as a result. Turns out Comment is not so Free.

    At least with the TDF on they have actually been writing about some actual cycling recently.

  40. BiG, you feel old? At age 11 (1972) I visited City’s training ground at Clay Lane. Those men, Bell, Summerbee, Corrigan, Doyle et al were giant men. At least to an 11 year old by they were.

  41. @Oblong

    It is not surprising that the Guardian dislikes Team Sky. What I find most odd is the wider antipathy towards Froome. We seem to refuse to embrace hike as a national sporting hero which on any objective measure (i.e. four TdFs with no personal taint) he is. It is even stranger as the Sky TUEs are used more to sling mud at Froome who had no involvement with them than Wiggins who was the recipient.

  42. Strange that the really successful football league in Germany has so many clubs with 51% fan ownership in a population which has a horror of house price inflation and an economy that works. How is this all possible without the benefits of true British property inflation and a self-designated elite (of wankers?)

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