Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Given the inordinately superabundant role that Media plays in forming a public and individual consciousnless today, greatly supplanting the family as a font of value systems, it is hardly surprising that the increasing tabloid-isation of media makes reality itself a very flexible commodity.

Our realities today, therefore, are formed by interpretations and assimilations that we make out of the collage of media thrown at us in an everday manner. And armed with these realities, we often forget to apply the good advice we’ve all heard at sometime or the other from the redoubtable Sherlock Homes “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”.

Right, lets get back to football before this blog loses its bearings in rarified atmosphere of lofty social commentary. The point I’m attempting to make, in apparently the longest-winded manner possible, is that we all tend to jump to erroreous conclusions based on superficial analysis performed on highly suspect and selective data which the media feeds us. And this was highlighted to me today by a simple sentence which appears in the Soccernet website, with respect to the driving force of off-season news – the Malcom Glazer juggernaut – and I quote “One of the aspects of the deal which is bound to be pointed out is United’s debt levels, which will still be lower than those undertaken by Arsenal to finance the cost of building their new stadium at Ashburton Grove”.

Do we have Arsenal fans registering a new football club? Calling Ian Wright out of retirement a la Ian Rush for a last hurrah? Staging protests and demonstrations? No? Why not? Isn’t the debt levels of the deal the single biggest sticking points for the disgruntled United supporters? Aren’t all the other fans crowing about how United will buckle under the financial leverage of Glazer-nomics?

The answer of course, is that we have all believed what we have been led to believe. And of course we have willingly followed – believing The Sun instead of, as we should, Mr. Holmes. It is not in my place to evaluate Mr. Glazers business strategy. But if it were, I would be well advised to collect sufficient data in order to make a reasonable conclusion of any sort.

If, however, I had to bet, I would be happier betting on Mr. Glazers approach than what I have seen of the earlier regime. The reasons are not too hard to fathom. The Manchester United management hasn’t covered itself in glory over the past few seasons. If it is players that make a club, I just have two words for the erstwhile board – Ronaldinho and Robben. The performance on field has often been sloppy – too players seem to have devalued at the club, instead of the other way around. David Beckham’s sale was made at the lowest point of the transfer market – and United were being supplanted very effectively by Chelsea as the “place to be” for new talent.

Will it all change under Glazer? Who knows? But till now, I haven’t seen anything from the Glazers that looks ham-handed. I could well be proved wrong in the months to come, but they’ve gone about their business with incredible effectiveness in the face of near-violent opposition. A virulent and vocal fan-base has not daunted them. Nor has being rebuked more than 3 times. If they are half as good at running things as they are at assuming control, then United fans are in for a upswing.

If ticket prices do increase by 50% over the next 5 years, it will still keep United behind most of the clubs in the premiership. Arsenal & Chelsea fans are in la la land if they think their London ticket prices will not spurt over the next few years. Lets not forget the bit about the Ashburton Grove debt of Arsenal and the fact that Chelsea at last count were in the favour of Mr. Abramovich to the tune of some 100 million pounds.

Arsenal may be getting Robinho and they may still have Henry, but in the time honoured tradition of intellectual debates, I have this to say to Arsenal fans: We have a goalkeeper na na na na na, we have a goalkeeper, na na na na na…

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