The large majority of my articles are ‘tongue in cheek’ but I will start with a serious one on racism and then go to the ridiculous with Owen and Busby.
Utter Truth: “Positive out of the Kick it Out Report”
This was the first story I read on Tuesday morning and, at first, it made me pretty mad. Anti-discrimination organization,”Kick It Out”, released their annual report and it stated a 2.5% increase in incidents reported to the group during the 2015-16 season compared to the previous equivalent period. If that was not enough to ruin your day, the most significant rise in reporting concerned social media, with 194 reported incidents, an increase of 18% compared to 2014-15.
So, I started off angry to see the numbers went up as anyone would. Clearly, racism and discrimination has no place in a civilized world but there may be a silver lining to these numbers. Currently, there is no metric or way to know exactly how many racist incidents that exist inside the world of football or on social media. That said, the only way to combat those who would use discrimination is to report it, expose it, and shine a giant light on not only the the issue but the individuals who are doing it.
Education and sending the message that this kind of behaviour, of ignorance, bigotry and intolerance will not be tolerating. Doing the opposite and bringing the world together as one, all races, and learning that we have nothing to fear is the key. In the past, certain levels of racism were tolerated or some were not willing to report because they turned the other cheek. The fact that we have more reports than ever before means that we can tackle the issue as it is out in the light. The more we report this stuff, the better.
Ok, back to the fun.
Complete Truth: “Owen is a Wanker”
So Michael Owen was interviewed in the new book, set for release in 2017, called “Ring of Fire”. Inside, he admits he was desperate to rejoin Liverpool ever since he left Anfield to sign for Real Madrid. For new fans, Owen scored more than 150 goals for Liverpool before Real Madrid paid eight million pounds to bring him to Spain in 2004. Wait, only eight million pounds? Oh, how the times have changed.
“At every stage – every summer – I was on the phone to Carra (Jamie Carragher) telling him to find a way to get me back. ‘Does Rafa want me?’ I’d say. ‘Does Kenny want me? Does Brendan want me?’ It was circumstance that stopped it happening.” Michael Owen
Clearly, he never returned to Liverpool and signed for Newcastle in 2005, spending four seasons at St James’ Park. With that never give up attitude, Owen kept trying to sign for Liverpool only to give up and sign for Manchester United.
“When it became clear Benitez didn’t want to do a deal, I spoke again with (Alex) Ferguson. He was very positive about me. I was twenty-nine years old. Should I have decided to retire there and then?” Michael Owen
Personally, I do not get up in arms about players, where they go, money, salaries because that would be hypocritical. Fans believe that they would not take the money to go to a rival club until the amounts were dangled in front of their faces like a carrot. Further hypocrisy: fans want their players to live and breathe football, show passion, but get upset if a former player, who has passion and wants to play on the biggest stage they can, moves to a club that has that platform.
My biggest problem is the way Owen describes Liverpool and their fans with such high praise, noting their passion. If you valued or understood Liverpool and their fans, with the passion you keep describing, maybe you should not have signed for Manchester United. You would have found a way to pocket the money and the find the platform with another club. I cannot imagine that MUFC was interested (and signed him) and there was not a single other ‘big’ club that made a call to his agent. My point: stop talking about fan passion in such a grand way when you have no interest in following it.
Of note, Owen scored 17 goals in all competitions during three years with United before finishing his career at Stoke City but his most famous one was in the Manchester Derby, which continues this weekend.
Utter Bollocks: “Sir Matt Busby Plaque Story”
To bring our non-Manchester United fans up to date, MUFC have removed Sir Matt Busby’s commemorative plaque from the Old Trafford director’s box and have relocated the season tickets given to his family. So, 22 years after his death, the club removed the plaque and moved his family to a new area of the stadium away from the director’s box. This had many Manchester United fans up in arms but also fans of other clubs mocking the story.
This is a non-story, perhaps the biggest non-story of the week: first, with respect to the plaque, it is just his name under a seat. Removing a small name tag is not a sign of disrespect, removing his statue would be. Second, even Busby’s children are now passed away: son, Sandy, died in 2014, followed nearly nine months later by his daughter, Sheena. His grandchildren still have complimentary season tickets elsewhere in the ground Do the grandkid’s kids get seats as well? How many decades to you keep a seat for someone and his family after their death so that it would not make fans upset?
Thanks for reading and be sure to call bollocks in the comments, below.