Paper Tigers

Posted on December 12th, 2013 in Football (4 comments)

Whenever some egregious act by a Chairman is being perpetrated, fans often look to players or managers for them to support their campaigns. It happened at Wimbledon with the MK move, or with the Glazer takeover of Manchester United, and it always ends the same way.

“But the owner has come in and he’s in a different culture and for the money he has put into the club if he thinks Hull Tigers is his way forward then we have to respect it. If he asks us to play in pink and white stripes on Saturday we have to do it because without him there wouldn’t be either a Hull City or a Hull Tigers.”

That from Steve Bruce, underscoring again the wisdom of Upton Sinclair’s words:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”

When I was at Supporters Direct, people (potential sponsors and government officials, mainly) often wanted to know about what players we could get to support the work of giving fans a real stake and voice. They couldn’t see the value of what we did on if it didn’t have some superstar on hand to utter platitudinal support.

The answer then, as now, is that we were unaware of a single active player who had ever ventured a view that supported a transformation of economic and social relationships at clubs to the advantage of fans. Not one.

Players studiously avoid any involvement in such controversies; despite being economically and culturally very powerful, the culture born ¬†of an industrial relations setup that saw players as little more than serfs lingers; they’re no longer precarious labourers with few rights, but reserve any antagonism towards the club for contract negotiation time.

It’s a salutory reminder that the biggest dividing line in football isn’t between clubs, or fans, or administrators and clubs, or players and managers, but a simply economic one: between those who pay for the game and those who are paid by it.

The players and management of Hull City, no more than the FA or the various leagues, will object to what the idiotic goon of a Chairman wants, because the only thing that matters is that he has control, and everything and everyone else can go and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Perceptive again from @theboyler on the nature of #Hull’s proposed name change & the role of players/managers: http://t.co/nkCMtAHPJF

  2. Not a single active player has publicly supported fan ownership of a football club. Why? @theboyler: Paper Tigers http://t.co/kWnmkywWfz

  3. RT @theboyler: New-ish article: Paper Tigers http://t.co/fRpO88KGqW

  4. RT @theboyler: New-ish article: Paper Tigers http://t.co/fRpO88KGqW

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