Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Like Clockwork

See, the thing about Clockwork Orange is that it's an impossible concept. An orange is organic. Clockwork, not so much. Can't be tampered with. As a concept, it's something that happens the same way every time. Like clockwork. 

So, the argument goes, what happens when you try to force an automatic response on organic matter? Generally, the results aren't in the least positive, oh my readers. (Get it? See what i did there?)

Unless, I suppose, it's the predictable world of the football interview. In particular, the football interview during those horrible mid-season swoons we accept as "International Breaks."

Like clockwork, during each international break, the local papers get ahold of their favourite sons, footballers who by any normal reckoning would be considered organic matter who are precociously able to exercise their own free-will. And like clockwork, reporters fall in line and fall over themselves to draw out quotes. They turn these players, who head back to their home countries, into A Clockwork Orange. These kids, thrust in front of a gaggle of press, automatically say any number of things. "Sure, I'd love to play for Milan, who wouldn't?" "It'd be an honor to play Real Madrid, they're one of the world's biggest clubs." What else are they gonna say? "Ugh, yuck, are you kidding me? I can't stand Barca. I mean sure, I liked 'em when I was a kid, but have you seen them lately? Yeah, that Messi's good, but he's a ball hog. And Milan? No way, man. No. Way."

Somehow it always seems to work, and somehow the press around the world always seems to lap it up. Herd mentality. Never mind how the quote was procured. (Of course they'll be cordial! With the nation's microphones turned on them today's footballers are more image-conscious than ever before. And they won't want to tick off the home base, much less a future income source, they're not stupid.) Never mind the source, by all means. And surely never mind the context. 

Every single international break, a story comes back with an Arsenal player flirting with another club. With a story of a certain foreign club's president casting lecherous glances in the direction of a budding Arsenal superstar. With a story of how a player is merely biding his time with the Arsenal, until he can, oh if he finally can play for the club that his heart truly sings for. And you know what, it's sickening. It may well be true that a player like Cesc Fabregas has fairly documented a desire to return to the club that 
he and his family have always supported, but for the time being, Cesc Fabregas is an Arsenal player and is under contract to Arsenal Football Club. For a so-called news reporter to leverage his country's opportunity to welcome home a star player with what amounts to a base-level of shit-stirring is nothing short of evil. And it's time one of the fat cats with FIFA and UEFA did something about it. And yes, Real Madrid and Barcelona, I'm looking in your direction. How nice it must be to come out and say, "Agger is a player we have been looking at for a long time and it is likely we will bid for him in January." Or Barcelona's pursuit, over several years, of Thierry Henry, this summer's pursuit of Adebayor or even Manchester City's chest-thumping, to say nothing of Real Madrid's pursuit of noted poon-hound Ronaldo.

I'm not saying I know what should be done, I'm just saying I'd like to see some rules enforced when it comes to tapping-up and blatantly unsettling players who are under contract with their club. The out-in-the-open comments regarding transfers must be curtailed.

Oh, and one more thing, Spurs are a joke.

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