Holding a ‘Black Mirror’ Up to Football’s Potential Futures

This piece was first published on 23 February online at The Huffington Post.

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror returned to Channel 4 last week, offering yet more twisted visions of the near future from the mind of the nation’s favourite bouncy haired malcontent.

The final episode of the current series airs on Monday, and with football reeling from a number recent scandals it feels oddly appealing to dream up Brooker-esque scenarios to inflict on the game. Football fans are hardly strangers to taking enjoyment from something that pains and disturbs them.

Each Black Mirror episode is also a modern-day parable. As Brooker himself states, each one is “about the way we live now, and the way we might be living in ten minutes time if we’re clumsy.”

Let’s assume the football authorities are clumsy. Below are five projections of future footballing dystopias, ranging from macabre extensions of the game’s current crises to indulgent scaremongering and sci-fi.  Continue reading

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Twitter, Football and Ressentiment: My Reply and a Farewell

Ressentiment: Manga style

As it may have be gleamed from my previous articles, I am a Liverpool fan. I know, I know, nobody is perfect. But I like to think of myself as being, at least most of the time, a fairly reasoned and sanguine commentator when motivated to write about football.

I am also a user of twitter, although I mostly use it as a way of collating various sources of articles on subjects that interest me. Indeed, it is rare for me to get involved in the heated, faceless tribalism that permeates such social networking websites.

Continue reading

In defence of amoral footballers

Ivanovic saw red in the Charity Shield, sending the post-Olympic press into a bitter spiral of sensationalism as usual.

The football is back, but it seems many wish it wasn’t.

With London 2012 still ringing in the ears of millions, national opinion looks to have been set on a collision course with the overpaid, oversexed and overexposed players of the Premier League.

Do footballers have a case to answer? In short, yes but I’m not so sure the issue is as clean cut as many are seeking to make it out.

Of course, comparing Luis Suarez to Mo Farah, or a rowdy football crowd to a set of Olympic spectators, and the result will hardly be flattering. How often though do honest, hard working professional footballers get given the media platform to represent their sport?

Pundits and supporters alike often lament the lack of “characters” and “personalities” in the modern game, which makes the exclusion of intelligent and articulate players such as Vincent Kompany all the more frustrating. While the antics of Mario Balotelli and co generate headlines on the front and back pages of the tabloid press, more sober heads such as City’s Belgian captain struggle to muster column inches. Respectable spokesmen for the game shouldn’t have to let off fireworks in the en suite of their Cheshire mansion to be heard. Continue reading

The Science of the Perfect Fantasy Football Team Name

See Also: Robbie Keane, Ledley King...

We All Dream…

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The sun is out, the sky is blue and pollen is waging a full-scale offensive on the nation’s airways. Transfer rumours are zipping back and forth faster than photons in the Large Hadron Collider, as football fans shun the beautiful weather to crowd around laptops praying that their “undiscovered hit” from last season hasn’t gone up in price too much. That’s right folks, the fantasy football season is upon us.

Say goodbye to your summer. Who has time to stock up on vitamin B when there’s player stats and data to absorb? It’s back into the routine: studying re-runs of Match of the Day in search of this season’s unrated ultra-performer and tinkering into the wee hours to divine the best value midfield pairing possible. Some managers, less hardy humans than us, will fall by the wayside as their once in-form players turn into pub league plodders. Continue reading

My Bloody Valentine in the Premier League?

My Bloody Valentine assemble for the worst defensive wall at a freekick since Zaire in 1974.

To many fans, money is once again destroying football.

The infinite riches of the sugar daddies have distorted the transfer market, driven up wages and, and for some supporters, irrevocably damaged the competitive integrity of the sport. Looking at it from a purely football focused perspective though, is it really all that bad?

My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless is the album that bankrupted a record label. If financial fair play rules existed within the myths and legends of the shoegaze sub-genre, Loveless might never have been released. It might never have been allowed to happen.

The demise of Creation Records is, more often than not, blamed on Kevin Shields, the band’s enigmatic creative genius and recording studio dictator. His ruthlessly obsessive (and irresponsibly expensive) pursuit for perfection led him to hire and fire whole ranks of techies and producers while burning through hours upon hours of mixing and remixing at various high-end, high-cost studios. Continue reading

A Philosophers Guide to Football

Cesar Luis Menotti

Cesar Luis Menotti: The real football philosopher?

If there is one thing that annoys me most about football, beyond even the rampant capitalist simulacra, the utterly offensive salaries, the corrupt governing bodies and the vast legions of, well frankly, fucking idiots who ruin it; it is when somebody, anybody, talks about a ‘footballing philosophy’.

A philosophy you say? Really? Please educate me on Barcelona’s take on the Phenomenology of Spirit? Or how Brendan Rodgers’ ‘pass-and-move’ (what bloody else happens in football, do tell?) ‘philosophy’ for Liverpool is deeply connected to Heidegger’s concept of dasein?

Of course, I am being ridiculous. But this is only to draw attention to a more serious point: there is indeed a connection, mostly untapped, between the esoteric realms of philosophy and the ‘world’ (eurgh) of football.

Read the full piece at The False Nine.