David Mitchell wrote the second of two terrific sports comment articles for the Guardian on Friday (could be he’s going to do more, certainly hope so). In I want a long rest from a game that never sleeps, he notes that
Despite the fact that no matches are being played, football still dominates the press. And what are they talking about? Transfers. Essentially, “Human Resources”. So-and-so is reported to be meeting what’s-his-name about a new job. AN Other is in talks with thingummy about a move down south. I mean, what’s next? Reports on clubs’ heating bills? In-depth analysis of a damp problem in one of the stands at Anfield? Even for football-lovers, those who don’t find the game dull and alienating, this transfer guff must still be pretty boring. So why is it so avidly read?
Bloody good question. (Though it does beg the question – that is, assume – that it is avidly read. Is it?)
Are other sports so hated and inadequate that their actual matches are considered less interesting than football’s behind-the-scenes admin? Is football really such a “beautiful game”, such an all-consuming passion for everyone except me and a tiny number of other freaks, that the majority cannot bear to be parted from thoughts of it even for a few weeks? If everyone loves it so much, am I being cruel for disparaging it at all, and not accepting its media domination as rightful?
Yeah, well, I wonder this too. But then I saw a picture in the Observer today, which showed a picture of Bill Nighy in front of some giant letters.
The way he was in front of them, the letters seems to spell out “AC NOW”. Hmm, I thought, sort of like AC Milan.. except this would be AC NOW, the great giant media creation with players so famous that they’ve moved beyond being famous for actually playing football. You know, like David Beckham, who – if I’m remembering this right – occasionally turns up for practice sessions with LA Galaxy, though nobody cares if they live, play or vanish off the face of the earth.
Well, why not have that? Why not a football team whose stars are all so famous they never actually play any matches? They’d just be the subject of eternal press conferences about who was going to join them, or leave them, or where their new manager – some celebrity in his/her own right – would appear in endless press calls talking about how their strategy would move forward now.
Of course there’d come a reckoning, when they’d have to play. But that’s OK: for the boss who runs the club, which makes millions from merchandising, finding ways to not get a match played is incidental. Oh dear, the groundskeeper sprayed weedkiller all over the pitch. Dangerous even to play. Oh hell, the lights failed. And so on.
I see it as a TV series – a sort of Trevor’s World of Sport, but in a football milieu. Seriously. Come on, it’s asking to be sent up. Get in touch..