Mayor Johnson's favourite provincials, the Scousers are wetting themselves again, this time over the fate of what it is pleased to call its football team. Not enough that the blessed John Lennon would've been seventy this week, probably have graced us with another thirty years of drug addiction, bullying, petulance, nude self-portraits, intolerable, twelve-bar druggy doggerel and peace activism, in bags, or beds. And that's not to mention all the avant garde horseshit from the horrid, stupid, tight-fisted Nasty Nip which he would have co-produced or co-created, them being artists and everything. As if John, fab mopster, Liverpool's favourite dead absentee, being dead wasn't bad enough, his fellow Americans have only gone and fucked-up the footy team.
I don't pay enough attention to football to know if the Liverpool squad contains even one local player, or even one English player, for that matter, but my guess would be that it's loyalty will be not to the boneheads who turn up chanting and weeping in expensive replica strips, about Dalgleish and Shanks, but to whichever gangster cartel, or whichever arm of skymadeupnewsandfilth signs their hundred- grand-a-week paycheques, that their loyalty will not be to locale but to international sponsor. No matter to Frank Scouse, that his team is owned by Money Inc, football is more important than life or death, isn't that what they said, or realism.
We have waxed long and sentimental, here, in our broken-down, old leftie way, about the historical importance of the the Football Association to towns and cities and counties up and down the land, how some of them were called this or that Wednesday because that's when they played, on the half-day, about how the players would travel on the same bus to the game as the supporters, how it was all a jolly good thing, relatively decent sportspersonship, a healthy outlet for ancient, male hostilities, a sanitised, often good-natured tribalism, how fans would follow their local team from cradle to grave, singing their inventively scatalogical anthems down the pub before and on the stands, a torrent of piss flowing down the steps, a steaming Bovril imbibed against the cold. And how, now, globalised, the beautiful game is just another branch of consumerism, many of its players as wretchedly, thuggishly amoral as city traders, or wealth creators, as we who are about to be cut, must salute them.
It's shit, all this Liverpool stuff, one gang of billionaires or another finagling for ownership, each masquerading as sporty philanthropists, whether it's porn baron David Sullivan at wherever he is - West Ham? - Russian gangster, Abramovich, at Chelsea or this pair of yanks and now a Singaporean billionaire, entire football-mad communities, generations of them, line up to be fleeced for season tickets and merchandise, heedless that the elastic loyalty, the foul play and the heart-stopping greed of those whom they worship, Spic, Dago, Kraut, Paddy, Tall And Tanned And Young And Lovely Boys From Ipanema and even the odd Zulu, together with the shit which happens when telly gets involved, these are the problem, not the owners; the problem is the players; money-love, sponsorship deals, unpunishable gang-rapes, coke-snorting morons in Bugattis; working, in retirement, for Morrisons, selling crisps and beer. And the fans, bewilderingly needy, sentimental, short-sighted and stupid. Locked together with the New Global Centurions, Whore-Banging Imbecile Potato-Man Rooney or Buy My Cosmetics Beckham, the Liverpool fans currently whining can at least console themselves with the thought that for as long as Supidityhas the price of a ticket in it's pocket, they will never walk alone.