The ‘British Core’. Quite possibly the biggest marketing ploy since Malcolm McClaren conjured up a cartoon punk band and ripped off the record labels something chronic.
There is no ‘British Core’, there never was. At the time it projected itself onto the world with the aid of a well-taken photograph, the notion played on the fears over a loss of identity. Yet the Premier League’s formation was the biggest identity theft in the history of football. Nothing was the same once the cash came rolling in. The domestic cow was milked dry and new foreign cows were needed.
With the role as the heartbeat of communities diminishing, football clubs looked to create a global community. Links and good charitable work remains the constant to this day, but there is a world market to serve and serve it the Premier League most certainly does. The Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga and Ligue Un merge into one on your TV screen, waiting for the day when all become one.
When the derbies with Tottenham attain some novelty status and matches against Dortmund, Marseille and Milan become the norm. When quizzical looks greet your talk of record-breaking FA Cup final victories and of winning an English league title at Liverpool, a team we haven’t faced for years.
OK, so that’s a dystopian view of how football’s future might look and preys on the same insecurities which created the British core. It could as easily have been a French core for the media. Indeed, did Arsenal miss a trick there? Global branding, etc.
That’s all the ‘British Core’ was: a marketing exercise. Look at them now. One at West Ham, another at Liverpool, the third in the Championship while the last is in the reserves and unsaleable.
It’s All Gone Bob Hoskins
In a way, the ‘British Core’ – certainly the English members of it – serve as a perfect analogy for the England team. Full of young promise but failing to live up to expectations.
The last member of the ‘BC’ is standing. Aaron Ramsey spoke to the media and inevitably the question of his contract came up.
“We are communicating. My agent and the club are speaking but are yet to come to an agreement. For football reasons, this is a great club to be at and I’m excited to get going under this manager.
“We’re just yet to come to an agreement.”
All of which is perfectly reasonable; Huss has yet to be fully extended over the barrel but at least talks are continuing. Do I blame Ramsey for taking his time and extracting every penny? Not a chance. After the palaver with Özil, take the money and run, dear boy.
And run, run to your heart’s content for in the high-pressing game we expect to see, Aaron Ramsey – at the peak of his career – may enjoy the best football of his career.
He won’t be rushed into a decision over a new deal either.
“It’s my decision,” he said after checking with Mrs Ramsey that it was the right thing to say. “Whatever I decide to do, that’s on me. Do I feel under pressure? No. The only thing that makes it awkward is you keep asking the questions. It’s like having a baby in the car saying ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet?'”
Yes, you pesky reporters. If it wasn’t for you, he might have got away with it, although what ‘it’ is I’m not quite sure. I’ve opened a Scooby-sized hole in the post and am not sure where the ramble is taking me.
Cue Monty Python Joke Inserted As Headline
One thing which won’t be questioned, he said, is his effort.
“Listen, I’m a player who always gives 100 per cent regardless of what’s going on. I will give absolutely everything to try to achieve something special this season, regardless. I’ve still got a year left and I’m looking forward to being in an Arsenal shirt in the new season.
“We have to come to an agreement with what we want, so maybe something might happen.”
I’m sure it will. If only Ivan weren’t so distracted to give the issue his full and formidable attention. Are you expecting me to plead or be concerned about the CEO leaving? ‘Fraid not. Don’t see what all the fuss is about. He’s a suit and I care not one jot for what the suits do.
Let’s look at it logically. Or maybe the preface should be, let’s look at it from my warped logic point of view. Gazidis could fall seriously ill and be incapacitated. Wouldn’t wish it on the bloke, but it could happen. Who takes over then? Not a dissimilar circumstance. Life goes on at the club.
Or if you want to look at it another way. This is a bloke who won a power struggle so he could impose a new management structure on the club. If it all falls apart when he leaves, then he wasn’t much good at his job, was he?
People, step back from the brink. He’s a CEO. That’s it. We love football, not the business of football. Flirted with it and frankly, it bored me to tears.
One thing we did find out though. Chips writes a bloody awful press statement. Add that to a bloody awful manner at AGMs and we’re finding out every time he does something that he’s a bloody awful chairman.
Pre-Season Friendly Alert
There’s a match on today, by the way. It’s a pre-season friendly which is a proviso of sorts. Expectations aren’t high, it’s just more interesting to see how the team sets out. However, until the thud and blunder of the new Premier League season begins, we won’t know too much about the team itself. Or more to the point, how the team has changed.
But it’s a blessed relief to have a match to talk about instead of the peripharies of the game.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.