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Let's kick cold profiteering out of football, along with racism

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Let's kick cold profiteering out of football, along with racism

Post  Hieronymus on 2015-02-21, 12:56 pm

Love him or loathe him, Russell Brand does come out with some interesting ideas. Read this today in the Guardian and can't help but feel he is on to something. We often speak of our disgust at the Premier League and how fans are treated, with high ticket prices and variable kick off times etc. so, as Brand says maybe:

"The destination of the hooligans on the train is inextricably linked to the journey of the modern game. If you treat fans like they don’t matter, like they’re not worthy of grace, then it isn’t surprising some behave disgracefully."

Russell Brand: Let’s kick cold profiteering out of football, along with racism
Russell Brand

The disgraceful behaviour of the Chelsea fans on the Paris Métro has no place in a civilised society – but then neither, perhaps, does the Premier League
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 Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea FC, in the stands: ‘The game is funded by big business, and fans don’t matter.’ Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images
Friday 20 February 2015 16.17 GMT Last modified on Saturday 21 February 2015 09.22 GMT

As a fan of West Ham United I’m always looking to legitimise my dislike of Chelsea FC. And on first viewing, this week’s jarring retro-Métro-racism seems like a good reason to condemn the denizens of Stamford Bridge.
Galling bigotry filmed on a phone; toxic nostalgia captured by modern technology. The train doors chirp and whirr with Blade Runner newness, but the white men clustered in the carriage sneer and chant like cavemen.
It doesn’t make sense any more, “Those days are gone,” we nervously think as we listen to them sing “We’re racist, and that’s the way we like it”.
To see anyone bullied hurts in our guts, and watching as Souleymane S gamely tries to board his train home I admire his tenacity and feel the vicarious guilt that my racial and national affiliation with the perpetrators provokes.
Why are these men – white like me, English like me, football fans like me – behaving so abominably? A spokesman for Chelsea said: “These actions have no place in football or society.” But society is where this took place – not in another world or another time but here and now.
David Cameron said the incident was “disturbing and worrying.” What these statements, these vague and abstract sentiments fail to address is the context in which the event occurred.
It is embarrassing that this familiar face of football should flare up like forgotten herpes at a time when the Premier League has sold itself for 5 billion quid or some other inconceivable number. There’s an amoral hooliganism in capitalism that’s difficult to comprehend when the figures gratuitously inflate. Why not 6 billion or 7? A pound from every person on the planet to watch the people’s game.
The Premier League boss, Richard Scudamore, said he could make no guarantee of the redistribution of this astro-cash, or of reducing ticket prices. Of course not. It’s not his job to represent fans or the majority of people who work in the game – his job is to ensure profit.
That’s everybody’s job now, whether we like it or not: to be profitable or be irrelevant. Chelsea, in fact, are the only club that offers a living wage to its staff. Most clubs in a sport awash with money pay their staff the minimum wage. The minimum: the smallest amount allowed. What a tawdry ambition.
The idea that this tremendous sum of TV money may find its way into fans’ pockets is beyond risible. It’s heretical. It’s against the doctrine of “market fundamentalism”. Fans are customers, and customers will be charged the maximum amount possible. The maximum: what an unpleasant sentiment.
The continuing disregard for the role of fans will no doubt be exacerbated by this extraordinary wodge of dosh. The game is funded by big business, and fans don’t matter: they are little more than set dressing, crowd artists, extras, herded ambience for a global TV audience.
Can we bear to try to understand those white men? Those neat Neanderthals in a silver fuselage have probably supported Chelsea all their lives. Their dads and grandfathers probably supported Chelsea, the Chelsea that existed in a world that may as well have been in the stone age, with none of Roman Abramovich’s dubious billions: the Chelsea of Ken Bates, or further back a team that, before 1905, was run from their local pub.
Their club has been taken from them; their game has been taken from them. You understand, I’m not seeking to excuse racism. Racism is no longer on the table of discussion for right-minded people. Even the most ardent racists grudgingly cast aside their dumb creed as obsolete, along with the VHS. It is a curse for those who suffer from it and a burden to those who practise it. What must they be feeling to behave so cruelly to another man, a man ultimately no different from them?
My feeling is that behind the ugly bravado and louche violence is a fearful impotence. Lost, with nothing to believe in, and knowing they don’t matter, they dig for meaning by stirring the cadaver of revolting, dead prejudice.
Souleymane S said these men should be found and locked up, and it’s difficult to disagree with this unjustly abused man, attacked in his own country by invading thugs. I would agree that these men should be found, because clearly they are lost. But they are already locked up: locked in lives without meaning, where they are as obsolete as their wailing, where their connection to community and history has been coldly stripped and sold.
In Germany all but two of the Bundesliga clubs are controlled by fans. Tickets are reasonably priced, and the common voice is heard. All football clubs should be controlled by the fans who support them, who love them and the communities that they represent.
Perhaps the Chelsea spokesman was right. Perhaps these actions took place outside society. Perhaps these men are outside society, discarded and redundant, bonded only by shared hate.
Perhaps the Premier League similarly exists outside society, garnering huge wealth and hogging it for itself, not sharing the bounty with fans growing bitter on the fringes. Or perhaps under capitalist extremism there is no society at all.
The destination of the hooligans on the train is inextricably linked to the journey of the modern game. If you treat fans like they don’t matter, like they’re not worthy of grace, then it isn’t surprising some behave disgracefully.
When fans take back the clubs that are theirs and run them collectively, aberrant acts such as the Métro racism can be communally condemned from a just position, not from the altar of cold profiteering and cunning hypocrisy.

• Russell Brand is donating the fee from this article to Show Racism the Red Card

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Re: Let's kick cold profiteering out of football, along with racism

Post  barrowmackem on 2015-02-27, 9:21 am

Just imagine if ALL fans boycotted games and they were played in empty stadiums, would the PL be a product tv would want then? I doubt it very much. Clubs think  they are immune and the loyal fan will attend whatever they charge, they could be in for a shock one day when the average fan could dessert the club for good. All the fans want is affordable football so Joe Bloggs can take his two sons to the game without taking out a second mortgage. It all boils down to greed of the clubs at the end of the day.
Thugs are thugs at the end of the day and not linked to anything else imo.
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