Antony being a prick has opened gates of hellish football opinions

Editor F365
Antony being a prick
Antony being a prick

If we’re honest, the headline was enough to set our teeth on edge.

Man Utd manchild Antony taunting Coventry heroes sums up arrogance of the Premier League – our beautiful game is broken

‘Beautiful game’ is a phrase only ever uttered by people who have never watched a full game of football outside of the 1990 World Cup. Your Uncle Jimmy says ‘beautiful game’ and he hates the foreigns and thinks the NHS is on its knees because of fat people on benefits rather than fat politicians in suits.

And also, no one act from one solitary tool of a man can ‘sum up arrogance of the Premier League’. It’s just not possible.

And that’s even before we address the notion of whether a sporting competition can have emotions.

To be fair to Dave Kidd of The Sun, the ‘beautiful game’ was a nonsense added by the sub-editor, but that’s where the fairness ends.

AS an image to symbolise the arrogance, excess and utter crassness of the Premier League, it could not have been more cruel or more perfect.

Here was a photograph which summed up the disdain shown by the greed-is-good top flight towards the rest of English football.

No Dave, here was a photograph which summed up what an absolute prick Antony is. That is all.

It no more sums up the Premier League’s attitude than Harry Maguire’s more reasonable reaction to shake hands with the Coventry players.

One man did one thing; another man did another. Kidd has only picked the Antony example because it suits his narrative about the ‘arrogance, excess and utter crassness’ of a whole competition. And my, what a narrative.

With talk of ‘the chasmic disconnect between its multi-millionaire players and the real-life people who pay to watch them’, this really is Uncle Jimmy dressed up in fancy words. It’s old men shouting at clouds. It’s lazy stereotypes and even lazier targets.

Here was Antony — Manchester United’s preening, £85.5million, one-trick pony, a manchild who personifies everything that’s wrong with the shameless shower of sewage which is England’s top flight.

By most measures, Antony – accused by more than one woman of domestic violence – is pretty much the worst of the Premier League. And the worst of something cannot possibly ‘personify everything that’s wrong’ with that thing.

It’s like saying Peter Sutcliffe personifies everything that is wrong about truck drivers. Or worse, that Rishi Sunak personifies everything that is wrong with people from Southampton.

But Kidd is really, really very pissed off that Manchester United beat Coventry so he is letting rip about the ‘shameless shower of sewage which is England’s top flight’. Does that include his beloved Fulham, we wonder, or is it just reserved for Manchester United?

And he was cupping his ears, taunting Coventry City’s players after his lower-tier opponents had been robbed of the greatest FA Cup comeback victory in history.

Mugged by VAR — a system which values forensic justice over the spontaneous joy which made football the world’s favourite sport for more than a century.

Pesky fact: It was the right decision. That doesn’t sound like a ‘mugging’.

Antony didn’t take one of United’s five shootout penalties. Not surprising, given his record of two goals in 34 matches this season, one of them against Newport County.

Antony is the worst value-for-money transfer ever seen in this shopaholic league and has nothing to be smug about.

True. He is a prick. Not sure how many ways we can say that. But what he isn’t is a symbol of the Premier League. He’s not even a symbol of Manchester United; he doesn’t get in their first-choice XI.

Antony seems to be a vile individual but this column isn’t really about Antony. Because Antony is merely a symptom of the hideous sickness within England’s top flight.

And there we have it. Antony is just a convenient way in. But the problem is that there is no ‘hideous sickness’; there aren’t countless examples of other Premier League players behaving in horrendously dickish ways this season. Mediawatch is struggling to think of many at all, barring the confected nonsense about the Chelsea penalty last week.

After our elite clubs persuaded the FA to completely scrap Cup replays – which gave us Ronnie Radford and Ricky Villa and Ryan Giggs – without due recompense or reasoning with the rest of English football, here was a weekend of contemptuous self-interest.

Scrapping the replays was an error – we have said it ourselves – but we don’t think Antony made that decision.

But have we missed the telegram that this was a ‘weekend of contemptuous self-interest’? There was some absolutely batsh*t nonsense from Nottingham Forest which made our top 10 madnesses of the season, but we didn’t sit down on Monday and think ‘well, wasn’t that a weekend of contemptuous self-interest?’. But then we’re not an old man and the sky is clear of clouds.

The previous day, after his Manchester City side had defeated Chelsea in the other semi-final, Pep Guardiola whinged about the fixture scheduling of TV companies who effectively pay much of his £20m salary.

“I don’t understand how we survived,” whined Guardiola, after 90 minutes of football against a team whose only outstanding player is one of his own cast-offs.

So a football manager is unhappy at playing an FA Cup semi-final within three days of a 120-minute Champions League quarter-final. Self-interest? Yes. Contemptuous? Only if you are really, really prone to contempt.

And obviously it’s exactly the same as cupping your ear towards Coventry fans and players.

Up at Wolves, Guardiola’s friend and rival Mikel Arteta was playing the same sad song about fixture congestion, despite his Arsenal side having played two fewer games this season than Coventry – who don’t have £50m squad players to rotate with.

They weren’t playing Coventry though, were they? So that’s an absolutely ludicrous comparison. They were playing a team which had not played three days before. And would not be playing again three days later.

It’s as if these people actually think we might have sympathy for them.

As if we might think, ‘Those poor little lambs, having to play football twice a week for wealth beyond all dreams of avarice’.

As if supporters of other English clubs actually want schedulers to bend over backwards so that they might stand a better chance of advancing in Europe.

Sorry to break it to you Dave, but they don’t give a f*** what you think. And not because you are parroting the white van man nonsense of Uncle Jimmy. The words might be finer but the tired old sentiments are the same as they have always been.

And we really should not have to explain to any intelligent person that getting paid lots of money does not make you immune from tiredness. Money can buy you most things (including love) but not energy if you have played six games in the last three weeks.

City, with 115 charges of financial wrongdoing hanging over them for more than a year. And Arsenal, another of the breakaway European Super League ‘snakes’. You think anyone else in England was actually cheering you on in Europe?

It’s just a series of random shouty words by now but in answer to the last question: Why would they care? Why do they need Fulham fans to support them?

We’re aware Mediawatch is getting long now but Kidd’s column is a monster; it’s like his brain has just been opened up onto the page. Damn right this is not about Antony; this reads like a breakdown.

Take VAR, that hateful system which doesn’t even have the decency to inform match-going punters what is going on while it robs them of fantastical moments such as Victor Torp’s stolen last-minute ‘winner’ for Coventry.

And those inverted quotes around ‘winner’ are there because it wasn’t a winner. It was offside.

Oh, and if you’re a match-going Premier League fan worried about whether you can afford your next season ticket after another above-inflation price hike, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Fifa may soon relax rules which insist domestic matches must be played on home soil.

So, if you want to watch Wolves versus Crystal Palace live, you might have to purchase a return airfare to Los Angeles or Bangkok.

It feels like we’re only a matter of sentences from an ‘oh, and train drivers get paid way too much money and they don’t even have to steer anymore’ or ‘oh, and I will never use pronouns and can I identify as a chair leg?’, such is the far-reaching nature of this column. What annoys you Dave? ALL OF THESE THINGS.

There’s then a whistle-stop tour through Nottingham Forest’s shenanigans, the hypocrisy of ‘players wearing rainbow laces to support LGBTQ rights while being paid by regimes which outlaw same-sex relationships’ (is the better alternative that they don’t wear them?) as well as environmental and gambling hypocrisies.

But then, after over 1200 words, Kidd gets to the place we suspect he actually wanted to start:

Still, over at Fulham, you’ll soon be able to take a half-time dip in an open-air swimming pool in a new stand where season tickets cost three grand a pop.

Pricing out most of those supporters who sustained that club while it was playing in the fourth tier with Craven Cottage under threat of demolition.

Now that is a sad tale. But it has absolutely f*** all to do with all those other things that are largely entirely unconnected.

And you mean to say you were actually shocked when Antony cupped his ears and taunted the little guys?

Not really, no. Because the man is a prick. But – and this seems important – he is not the whole Premier League.