As this poor-quality Premier League season limps to a nauseating conclusion, the temporarily doomed European Super League (ESL) soap opera which has been a welcome distraction.
The launch lasted about as long as a Boris Johnson promise, such was the hysterical groundswell of fan outrage egged on by a bored sporting press and millionaire former-player pundits.
It’s been great gas altogether, not least for the large dollops of breathtaking hypocrisy smothering it all.
I’m old enough to remember similar bouts of faux outrage ahead of the creation of the “Premiership”.
“Huh, we need to buy a Sky box to watch matches? Football is dead. It’s all about greed and money.” And then we bought our Sky boxes and the flashy replica shirts and flew over in our droves to Anfield and Old Trafford every weekend like we never did before.
The oilmen, oligarchs, Arabian princes and big airlines rode into town to see what the fuss was all about
We did so whilst replenishing Rupert Murdoch’s bank account with gay abandon. Managers, players and pundits shared in the windfall. The oilmen, oligarchs, Arabian princes and big airlines rode into town to see what the fuss was all about. Ergo, the world’s best players and their mercenary agents following the scent. They never claimed to be anything else but business investors. We didn’t care as long as they wrote the cheques for the big money signings to win trophies.
Where would Chelsea and Manchester City be without them? Although, wasn’t it ironic that they should be the most contrite of the English clubs involved last week. Their “mea culpa” came after their fans were suddenly overcome by morality and ethics about billionaires and football.
Remember: the value of a star signing is heavily linked to the potential for selling jerseys with their names emblazoned across the back to smitten fans
Meanwhile, how many Manchester United diehards protesting – bedecked in their “Kerry” scarves – against the Glazers cursed them last summer when they wouldn’t cough up the £100m or so Borussia Dortmund wanted for Jadon Sancho?
Remember: the value of a star signing is heavily linked to the potential for selling jerseys with their names emblazoned across the back to smitten fans.
They would be the same jerseys that we will cry into as we burn our season tickets – which of course gain us access to watch Champions League matches against the elite European clubs every year.
In Ireland, we go on social media to decry the Government, capitalism and “west Brits” but importantly not forgetting to display #lfc or #mufc in our profile blurbs.
Then there’s the argument that a competition with the same teams year in, year out would become boring after a while
We go to matches at the “Ethiad” and “The Emirates” and eat veggie burgers and quaff vegan craft beers. We chant “Glazers out” in the vacuous illusion that some philanthropist trust in memory of Mother Teresa is gathering up the €4bn needed to see them on their way.
As Roy Keane might say: “Do me a favour!” Then there’s the argument that a competition with the same teams year in, year out would become boring after a while. Crikey, how has the Connacht Football Championship lasted so long?
Spare us the romanticism and blubbering. Over the past 30 years the hypocrisy among Premier League fans like me has been breathtaking indeed. I don’t want to see an ESL, but as we continue to wring our hands at this attack on the working man, a competition of sorts is on the way if even by stealth via UEFA.
We will shout obscenities. Then we will settle down to cheer it on as we have always done.
If farm groups want buy-in from the general public, they’d be well served to publicly distance themselves from the sort of noisy nonsense displayed by disparate rural TDs opposing the Climate Action Bill last week.