50 Shades of Racism

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Listening to the radio and reading the press it’s clear that many hold the view that racism is racism, it’s either black or it’s white and you’re either a racist or you’re not. Extrapolating this argument John Terry, now found guilty by the FA of racism, should face the ultimate sentence to clearly broadcast the FA’s sincerity and conviction to stamp racism out of football once and for all. I’m not quite sure what this ultimate sentence should be but the noises the journalists and some players are making is that it should be longer than Saurez’s eight weeks and, according to Joey Barton, in excess of twelve weeks because calling Anton Ferdinand a black c*** is far worse than serial GBH.

In my opinion you can’t apply the pregnancy test to racism, where you’re either pregnant or not pregnant but can’t be a little bit pregnant. There are at least 50 shades of racism ranging from the extremes of slavery and apartheid at one end of the scale and calling someone a black c***, in a particular context, at the other end of the scale.

The context is particularly important. I’ve heard it mentioned that this type of language is completely unacceptable in the workplace and, as journalists like to put an industrial slant on football by stating players ‘put in a good shift’, professional sport is a workplace. In the context of a business like a supermarket, if the store manager during the regular six monthly appraisal of an employee used the words “I’m totally dissatisfied with the way you stack the shelves you black c***”, clearly this is gross misconduct and, after the appropriate procedures have been followed, the store manager should be sacked and frogmarched out of the building.

In the context of a football match you have big, hefty blokes kicking lumps out of each other and during the heat of the battle each making reference to skin colour, hair colour, weight and in the case of Ferdinand, Terry’s sexual past. In this context I would classify “black c***” not as racism but instead abusive language. This is not abusive language I would use or want to hear on the streets, in my workplace or from the mouths of my kids but I’m not bothered about it being used on the pitch, provided it’s not publicly broadcast.

Additionally you need to consider the context of the victim. Ferdinand is no shrinking violet but grew up on the tough streets of Peckham and I find it implausible that he felt hurt or distress as he and Terry traded insults. If Terry had directed the phrase “black c***” at some innocent black bystander then that would obviously be several shades of grey further up the scale.

Based on the FA’s decision of guilty no doubt opposing fans will feel that chanting abuse at Terry is now legitimate. But does this verdict make Terry a racist? Recently I was in Monaco watching the European Super Cup and I was sitting in the VIP area near UEFA dignitaries and players’ families. Now before you start thinking I must be some privileged toff to be in the VIP zone please let me assure you that I take my bike out through the side entrance, I know nothing about the Magna Carta except where it was signed (at the bottom) and that I’m a regular season ticket holder and bought normal tickets at the B price point. My seating area allocation is still a mystery to me. Anyhow just a few minutes before kick-off the players that weren’t in the squad made their way into the stand via a gate in the pitch barrier. Included in this group was Terry who, prior to joining his team-mates, made his way to the seat immediately in front of me and embraced this black chap, said a few words and then returned to his seat. Being a cynical sort my first reaction was that Terry was going to the first black person he could find, hugging him and hoping that this public display would confirm to the world at large that he’s not a racist. At half time I made conversation with the black chap, spent most of the time discussing our team’s appalling performance but also discovered that he lives and works in Cannes and is a friend of Terry. If Terry is a racist why would he have black friends (including the Ferdinands I believe prior to this saga) and embrace his black friend in public?

Finally the media are asking what action will Chelsea take against Terry because the club has a zero tolerance policy on racism. Well it’s an unusual situation in that the club can pick and choose from a choice of verdicts. I think the club statement will read something like “We are faced with two verdicts, one guilty and one not guilty. After much careful thought, consideration and deliberation comparing the verdict reached by the trained and qualified judge in a court of law using the legal process that has evolved over 800 years and been adopted by many countries worldwide, versus the verdict reached by the kangaroo court comprising anonymous, incompetent bigots with partisan interests, we have decided no further action against John Terry is required.”




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  1. GrocerJack

    Hear hear Mark. The whole reaction to this sorry episode is out of hand and the various press and cyberspace reactions have all the whiff of at the least a witch hunt, at worst a lynch mob. For me there are many logic holes in the whole issue.We have the Rio puppetry sparked by the choice of JT over him as Captain of England after the Wayne Bridge claims were found to be false. The bitter taste of this has patently festered within Rio for some time. We also have the idea that it’s OK for Anton Ferdinand to use this false claim as a stick to provoke JT with.

    Then we have the apparent logic gap in JT saying “Do you think I called you a black cunt, you knobhead?”. Who was JT responding to. Who told JT that AF thought JT had call him this?  Why would JT say this back to Anton unless he’d heard those words directed at him as well. Irrespective of whether JT did call him that name in a term of abiuse, we are still none the wiser as to whether AF said to JT “Did you call me a black cunt?” or whether another player said to JT “Anton thinks you called him a black cunt”. The only logical answer is that JT did call him that without the context of it being a challenge question to Anton. In which case why didn’t any other black player call JT to task. And also unless JT specifically said “Anton you black cunt” then why could it not be another player on the QPR side or even one of ours. The footage suggests both Obi Mikel and Ashley Cole were within earshot.

    Note I have used the phrase itself rather than censor it. Does this make me racist? The FA seem to have ignored the context of what JT said, despite the court of law saying it could not prove context and therefore there is reasonable doubt. In that case there are people on twitter equally guilty of being racist. And of course, The Guardian, which never censors profane language and has printed this phrase as well. Remove the ‘context’ from it and is that not equally racist?

    Other examples of utter cuntery of course emanate from the whole saga. We have the ‘choc ice’ comment from Rio, where he re-tweeted this insult to Ashley Cole. is this not equally racist? If not why not? Arfe we now in a society that says black people can use racist terms to each other because then it isn’t racist? Doesn’t that then introduce the increasingly tenuous concept of context as well? In this case of black insult to balck, the context apparently makes this fine. And wasn’t Rio’s misdemeanour far more ‘public’ than JT’s alleged words? Follow on from this, is Rio accusing Ashley Cole of being disloyal to race by testifying for JT? Forgive me here but under oath aren’t you suposed to tell the truth, rather than lie in order to remain a member of some sort of brethren?

    And in another shock we now get the indignation of black players allegedly upset over the punishment. Suarez repeated used the phrase ‘Negrito’ to Evra. In English translates to ‘Negro’ which I was taught at school was the official racial classification of black people, alongside Caucasian for white people, oriental for those from the exotic East, Arab for…arabs and Asians for those from the sub-continent.  So in theory it’s not racial abuse at all. However, Suarez was found guilty because of gthe context in which he said it. Ignorance was no defence, neoither was his own cultural background. The FA and British society merely overalid our values on to him and punished him for the contextual use of a phrase whicvh to him was normal . There we have the tenuous ethereal application of context again. Are these offended black players really saying that JTs use of the phrase was worse than Joey Barton physically assaulting Man City players? really, in whose fucked up world is the use of language worse than real physical pain and actual physical damage? Ask yourself this…would you rather someone called you a short/fat/black/ginger/gay/lanky/ugly/bald cunt, or take a full headbutt into the face, or a swift kick in the bollocks? If you answer anything other than the words then you are a deluded liar.

    Let’s finish this rant with the more sinister issue of how this makes black people look. No-one likes racism. Unless they’re Nick Griffin. But the increasing outcry from the black community over every perceived slight will drive more people to be less accepting of their views and feelings, and in worst case scenarios lead to ordinary decent people starting to hold what might be seen as racist views. What is happening isn’t helping the fight against racism, it’s hindering it and taking it backwards. It’s divisive and events like Suarez and JT trivialize the truly racist dogma spouted by the BNP and EDL. One only has to look at Alan Hansen being pilloried for using the term ‘coloured’ when a major anti-racist organisation in America is still called the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). This is just how far out of hand the drive for political correctness has got. It reduces racism. homophobia, disability and all manner of potential subjects of bogotry and prejudiced tho that of a primary school playground.

    Lastly, JT should in my view just suck this up. His reaction should be ‘sorry’ and then he should refuse any media contact except for Chelsea TV. We need his captaincy on the pitch and nowhere else. Frank and any number of players can represent at pre/post match interviews and conferences. And then JT should politely tell the FA that he will not participate in any FA sponsored charities or initiatives, much like Duncan Ferguson did. He and the club get a quiet life and the press vultures and the bleeding hearts can find another cause to persecute.

    • Nick

      I have to censor words like ‘cunt’, Tony, otherwise NewsNow’s prissy bot refuses to include a link to the post on their Chelsea news page. I’m of the opinion that asterisking swear words is f****** silly anyway, we all know what it c****** says and read it as such. The Guardian has no issue with printing ‘black cunt’ and neither do I. In fact I might put it back in.

      Great post by Mark and great comment by you. I’m still digesting it all. I think I agree with pretty much everything Mark wrote, but as I just said in an email to him, it’s a difficult subject on which to have a black or white opinion, there are many shades, perhaps as many as 50.

  2. Jacarandachick

    Of the many aspects of this saga that disappoint me is that the conversation on race has not progressed. I originally blogged about my belief that John Terry did not use that phrase in a racist context, that the law is inadequate if it doesn’t allow for context or nuance, I feel the same way about the FA regulations which are too broad and blunt in scope to challenge discrimination. John Terry divisive a figure as he is

  3. Nick

    Another shade to this whole sorry saga is the family, educational and cultural background of many professional footballers. No disrespect intended, but many of them don’t come across as the brightest lamps in the street. Leaving education at an earlier age with fewer qualifications, which is what many still do, combined with the fact that a lot come from tough areas and have tough upbringings all adds to how they behave as adults, on the pitch and off it. Add in sudden wealth at an early age and you have all the elements for less than acceptable behaviour (I believe the three protagonists in this affair – the Ferdinand brothers and Terry – prove my point). It’s no excuse for using a racist term, but it’s never shocking to hear that a pro footballer has done or said something stupid or offensive. Terry has been a bit of a berk throughout his career (even Lampard has behaved less than well at times and he’s supposed to be smarter than your average pro footballer, which tells you a lot about the culture of pro football in this country). While recently pro rugby players have also been making headlines for idiotic behaviour, it’s a lot rarer for them to get into situations like the one Terry’s in. I don’t know what percentage of pro rugby players went to university, but I bet it’s quite high and significantly higher than pro footballers (and the majority probably had a more settled, comfortable childhood and upbringing too). I’m being simplistic, but you don’t expect the majority of people educated to a higher level to use the phrase ‘black cunt’ in any context (of course there will always be exceptions, bad apples). (Someone should write a doctoral thesis about this stuff.)

    The phrase ‘black cunt’ is horrible, even in the context Terry said it (and yes I have called one or two people ‘cunts’ in the past, recently under my breath during a pique of minor road rage, but it would never enter my head to add the word ‘black’ to it if the other driver had been black; skin colour is irrelevant). But that’s not to say I believe Terry’s a racist, he almost certainly isn’t. He’s just a pro footballer and on that fateful day at Loftus Road he behaved like many pro footballers do, like a fucking idiot, a bit of a cunt, so to speak.

  4. Cunningplan

    Yes great piece of writing by Mark and Tony, and agree with the sentiments from both.
    I listened to the 5 live phone in this morning with Nicky Campbell and had to turn it off in the end because most of the callers, bordered mainly on the self- righteous to the insane conspiracy theorists, with a few sensible contributors.

    There was no doubting that JT was going to be found guilty, when you have an organisation like the FA which acts as CPS, judge and jury, then he would have had a better chance of a not guilty verdict in some banana republic run by a tin pot dictator.

  5. Petew

    My view is that Terry really did call Ferdinand a ‘black c’ in angry response to their exchange than he deserves a far more serious ban than four matches. There are no excuses, it just isn’t done. I think a ban in that situation should be measured in terms of months, not matches. Words hurt, especially racist ones. 

    However, it’s by no means clear that is the case. Anybody (ie Chelsea fans) who followed the court case closely could see the inconsistencies in the prosecution case, especially as the only witness – Ashley Cole – backed up Terry’s account. Given that, perhaps in my naivety, I think it highly unlikely somebody would bellow such an insult across a football pitch when surrounded by several black players, I find Terry’s defence quite plausible along the ‘did you call me a cunt, cunt’ lines. (What’s particularly shocking is that looking at today’s papers a number of reporters clearly didn’t follow the court case at all, or they are thick, or they are dishonest.)

    Given Terry admitted using the words though, it was obvious the FA were going to get him. Their legislation is so loosely phrased and with such low burden of proof it was a foregone conclusion. What’s inexcusable is that people have then used this to label Terry a racist without anybody having had the chance to see the reasons behind the FA’s judgment. I think that’s a disgrace. How can the FA not provide a written statement at the same time as handing out their punishment – professionally, that’s extraordinarily shoddy. But everybody knows this about the FA, they just choose to take them seriously now because the judgment satisfies their prejudices.
     
    I am fairly sure the written judgment, when it finally emerges from the flatulent bowels of the bloated FA, will pretty much exonerate Terry from the straightforward accusation of racism that the public is demanding (although by then, it will clearly be too late). If that’s the case, Terry points to it in his defence, apologises for any offence he caused by repeating offensive words he thought had been used against him, and leaves the scene until his next PR disaster. 

  6. Der_Kaiser

    It’s all a fairly sorry mess, and frankly pretty inevitable that it would all end in and ill-informed name-calling shitstorm.  Such is the world today, I’m afraid.

    This should have been dealt with by the FA in the first instance. Similar events happen frequently (more at lower levels) and are rarely anything for the police to be involved in; not that football exists in a bubble that should be above the law, but that things are said on the pitch in the heat of a game that wouldn’t be uttered elsewhere.  The CPS occasionally look at the evidence in some cases, but generally pass it over to the FA to deal with.  Most defendants aren’t racists, just hot-headed footballers that swallow the ban and fine issued, apologise and move on.  The CPS knew they were on a hiding to nothing given the evidence and were certainly pressured into taking action.

    Do I think JT has helped himself?  Not really.  His relationship with the FA hasn’t been good since the Poll red card at Spurs in 2006 and numerous intervening events have soured matters further.  He has some pretty sharp and aggressive legal people behind him who appear to have tried every trick in the book (as legal folk do) to muddy the waters and get the FA to drop the charge.  Which, of course, they were never going to do either way.  It didn’t matter what the verdict that came from the Wembley boardroom was – short ban, season-long ban, no action, public flogging, defenestration – someone would have been outraged by it and they are inevitably the people with the loudest voices.

    Does what has happened mean there is a conspiracy against Terry within the FA?  I expect there were a few sighs of relief when he announced his retirement, but some Machiavellian plot?  Not in a million years, I’m afraid.  Liverpool fans think it’s against them one week, Fergie and co the next, then an under-pressure manager whose team is 16th and on a shocking run of form and “we’re just not getting the decisions Clive – why is that?”.  At any given moment, the FA apparently have more illicit campaigns against individuals and clubs running than the KGB, Stasi and every CIA black ops team since the 1950’s.  Believe me, they ain’t that organised or smart enough.

    The post-verdict reaction has inevitably been cringeworthy, given that no-one has seen the written evidence yet; an awful lot of Chelsea contingent have sounded exactly like Liverpool fans did when Suarez was banned – it’s all against us, they love United blah de blah.  We laughed at them for it then, but now we’re using the same template.  Embarrassing.

    I’ve said it before and I think it bears repeating – the FA decision and that of the high court mattered very little in the perception of Terry; people saw the footage, added it to the less than sparkling public persona and reputation that Terry has and made up their fairly narrow minds.  The fact the FA judgement seems to confirm in the eyes of the public (99.9% of whom won’t care what is in the report anyway) that Terry is a racist, which is pretty grim for him and, I think, society as a whole.  Much is made of how much the debate on race and racism has moved forward (which it has), but as this case has shown there is still an awful lot of tension under the surface of society just waiting to come out given the opportunity.

    What next?  I think Terry will appeal and lose, I doubt the CAS will touch it with a three foot pole and that will be that.  Terry will be booed everywhere he goes until the end of his career by everyone except his own, the pre-match handshake will probably become a weekly farce and I’d also wager that the next contract offer JT gets in 18 months time from Roman and co. won’t exactly be gilt-edged.  Where it leaves race as an issue in football is anyone’s guess, but I don’t imagine any black player will be rushing to complain to the FA about an on-pitch slight any time soon.  Who bears responsibility for that is a whole different can of worms.

    As for the FA – I hope there will be a review of the rules governing this kind of offence; as both the Suarez and Terry cases seem to have illustrated, it’s a minefield and just not feasible to apply the same burden of proof to a matter as serious as race-related insults as you would a snidey elbow in the head off the ball.  Whether it happens or not is anyone’s guess, but I suspect the conflict between the court’s decision and that of the panel will have made for some uncomfortable moments in the offices at Wembley in recent weeks.

    The moral of the story?  I’m sure there are many, but above all I think it’s safe to say we’ve learned that it isn’t too smart to use the words “f**king” “black” and “c**t” in close proximity to each other on a football pitch, especially so when you’re England captain and most of the football world hates you already.

  7. bluebayou

    Thanks for the peice Mark. I think we have to be careful and distinguish between what the FA have actually ruled on this case and the claims that Terry is found guilty of racism. 
     
    They have not, in their own words, found him guilty of racism, but have found a charge of misconduct proven, specifically one of “using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2].”
     
    It might seem like splitting hairs, but in an incident that revolves around language, words and their meanings are important. As is a written judgement. It is difficult to further comment on what the FA have ruled without seeing that, to be honest.
     
    In the interim it is worth reading again the Judgement from the court case, as it does rehearse most of the relevant arguements and evidence in that case, which one would assume does not greatly differ in substance from what was presented to the FA.
     
    You have to bear in mind that this is a legal professional’s interpretation of days of evidence rather than a verbatim record, but it is surprising how most of what you read and hear in the media is spectacularly ignorant of even the basics of the case.
     
    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/r-v-john-terry.pdf
     
     
    On more than one occasion I’ve wondered about what isn’t being said.
     
    Does anyone know if the referee ever made a statement?
     
    Why are certain individuals so vociferous and certain about what was said and how it was said? At times you almost feel that there is a conversation taking place based on inside knowledge that we don’t have. You read pieces, hear discussions where there seems to be a hole, into which it is assumed you will place the unspoken “key” that makes it all blatantly obvious.
     
    This looks set to descend into a competition to put up testament from as many non-white or Jewish footballers, sports people and other “figures” as possible . You quote the ones that back your side and ignore the others. (cf Daniel Taylor’s piece in the Guardian today).
     
    Nick,
     
    I think the argot in which you speak and when you choose to use bad language is very much a result of education, background and the social circles in which you move. Rugby and the like just don’t have the profile that football with its moneyed young lads we can “look down on”.

    However “bad” behaviour of the type that interests the tabloids in particular, sex, drink, drugs etc. is common in all young males irrespective of class. There just isn’t quite as much mileage in reporting it. And it is only recently that footballers have had the wealth to employ the legal obstacles that still protect those who can afford it.

    Every so often the lid is lifted by the press, particularly if it’s a member of the Royal family or they are feeling particularly indisposed towards the wealthier classes. Look back to the way Charles expressed himself to Camilla all those years ago, hardly the traditional language of romance. What about Harry in Las Vegas? But professional footballers haven’t got the get-out of “he’s a serving soldier”. Note how quickly he was deployed to Afghanistan once that story broke. And if you really want to get the tin foil hat on, isn’t it convenient his base was attacked shortly after he got there?

    • Nick

      I agree. I was being overly simplistic. I wasn’t trying to make it an issue of class. Making it an issue of whether you’re university educated or not, or whether you’re from a working class background or not is just too easy. The rugby players at my university were capable of some really quite shocking behaviour (I feared them), and the girls hockey team could out bad behaviour them (they terrified me). I never ever witnessed any racism or use of racist language though. I like many pro footballers am from a working class background and I chose to go to university in my mid twenties when I finally felt that I was ready to learn, and I paid my own way (well I’m still paying for it now but that’s a whole other subject). Of course I behaved poorly at times – vomited in a gutter once or twice after a bit too much lager, etc – who didn’t as a young man, but I never behaved or did anything like some of things pro footballers get up to these days (not that I want to tar them all with the same brush). I guess it’s just a question of upbringing. Or is it? I really don’t know. It’s a complicated subject. Someone do a study.

      • bluebayou

        Yes you’re right it is something we can be simplistic about as I demonstrated in my reply and the whole thing is far more nuanced. But I had to find a way of mentioning my latest conspiracy theory 😉

  8. Blueboydave

    Not much else to add.

    While I continue my general policy of avoiding like the plague both the Twitterverse and Facebook on life in general and particularly football matters I must admit on Chelsea-related stuff I do now regularly check out Dan Levene’s Twitter account for a sensible, even-handed approach with links to his more extended pieces.

    A couple of days ago before the verdict was announced he set out 3 possible grounds that he’d come up with which might form the basis of an appeal by JT. 

    While I doubt that the FA would be in the least moved by any of them I can’t help thinking that JT’s expensive lawyers/advisers will be urging him to appeal v the FA decision whenever we get to see the details and then on to whoever else they can get to consider it further when that fails.

    This one will run and run, I fear, for some time yet.

  9. Blue_MikeL

    Not much to add, or actually nothing to add at all. This whole story with different type of justice at FA clearly stinks. However, our answer should come tomorrow, when we kick the ball at our first serious test this season. Come on Chelsea!!!
    KTBFFH!
     

  10. Beermoth

    Found not guilty by the countries leading magistrate ,found guilty by an ex Blackburn Rovers winger.
    Know which one I place more trust in.

    If i undertand it right ,the FA takes the view that context does not come into it ,unlike the law of the land.
    In which case anyone who said the words fucking black cunt in the court case ,or anyone who wrote the same words in a newspaper article would be considered guilty by the FA.

  11. limetreebower

    The most obvious conclusion from the whole business seems to be that when it’s our guy who’s been accused, he’s transparently a victim of a half-arsed witch-hunt for which the FA, the media and society in general must take the blame, whereas when the accused plays for another team then he should be banned for as long as possible and vigorously booed by every right-thinking spectator in the land.

    I don’t know about the average level of education of footballers but I can’t help worrying more about the fans …

    Presumably players mutter foul insults at each other in games up and down the land. JT’s misfortunes are, first, that somebody heard it, second that he was captain of England, and third that he embodies a successful club and is therefore a reflexive hate figure for fans of every other club.

    Nevertheless, I can’t see that there’s any argument about the punishment. If you’re caught saying what he said then you have to suck it up and apologise. It’s got nothing to do with whether he “is” a racist (which seems monumentally unlikely), and it’s got nothing to do with Suarez or that jumped-up self-regarding twerp Barton and it’s got nothing to do with being captain. The arguments about the context in which he said the words are relevant in law, but the question of whether you’re allowed to direct the words “f****** black c***” at someone isn’t really a matter for the courts, is it?

  12. Vik Sohonie

    Oooooh don’t Chelsea look good. Torres goal, two set pieces, fantastic saves, solid defending. Well played all around. 

  13. Der_Kaiser

    I shall pose the question to m’learned friends on here – last time we won at Arsenal (Highbury or Emirates) without either Frank or Drogba in the side?

    Can only think of the 5-0 League Cup game in the late ’90’s; before that – John Bumstead in 1990 (?)
     

  14. TrueBlue007

    Great start but got a lot nervy towards the end. Overall great performance though against an in-form side. 

    Torres took his goal well but wasted some chances and kept losing the ball. I am keen to see Danny Studge have a chance upfront. 

    Thought Mata was excellent, Hazard a little out of it and maybe too much for Oscar. However Ramires and mikel both played very well. 

    Lets hope fulham and spurs do us a favor as well!!

  15. Biggs

    best defense, best goal diff and most goals scored in the league, first place, no losess, five wins and 1 draw. and they call it “chelsea – work in progress”.
    maybe i do not come from a footballing country like england, but your footy journos suck BIG time.
    unbelievable.

    oh, and thanks avb and spurts. 😉

  16. Vik Sohonie

    Since someone’s brought up the anti-Chelsea bias (that in all major media outlets worldwide imo), check out this blatant stab at Chelsea from ESPN:

    “TOTTENHAM VERDICT: Terrific. With solidity in the middle and speed on the flanks, Villas-Boas’ gameplan was excellent. Dembele and Sandro are shaping up to be one of the best central midfield partnerships in the country while William Gallas merits a mention for his second-half resistance. This Villas-Boas team, unlike the last, has real spirit.”Unlike the last. Ha. 

  17. SweetDairyAir

    Great result today. It reminded me very much of the Benfica match away from last season. I like the way the team is going, and for once the double pivot actually looked pretty good. Ramires and Mikel looked good in that position. They still need to tighten up the passing, along with the whole team generally really, but overall things seem to be improving faster than I thought they would.

    Also, just as an aside, congratulations to Tottenham. Oh how lovely it was to see Rio flap around like the useless shit of a player that he is nowadays. It tastes so sweet to see him play soooo badly! And I’ve always had a soft spot for AVB. For a variety of reasons it turns out we weren’t right for each other, but I still believe he’ll come good. He’s won more trophies in the first few years of his career than most managers will win their whole careers (*cough* Harry *cough*), has an encyclopaedic knowledge of football, and to be honest I like how snarky he can be towards the press sometimes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roman starts sucking up to him if he starts winning a few trophies, like he did with Jose, buying him a Ferrari for his birthday once he realised he made a mistake firing him in the first place. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have fired AVB, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him managing us again some time in the future.

    And it was nice to see another one of our former backroom staff doing a good job, this time at Liverpool.

    Of course if Liverpool and Tottenham start challenging us in the league, then I’ll go right back to hating them, but whilst I feel they’re still quite far away from us right now, I can appreciate what they’re doing.


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