The Plastic Hippo

February 14, 2016

Defying gravity

Filed under: Sport — theplastichippo @ 11:06 pm
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In an increasingly predictable and occasionally boring existence, there are very few things that can still provoke jaw-dropping astonishment. If the discovery, observation and actual measurement of gravitational waves left you agog with wonder, consider the utterly remarkable and almost frightening piece of reality that two weeks into February and with 12 matches to play, Leicester City are 2 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Although narrowly beaten by Arsenal, Leicester are still favourites to win the title and on current form clever football pundits suggest that Arsenal were lucky to score the winner in the fifth minute of added time against ten men. Astonishingly, the Gunners were considered as underdogs and their last gasp victory is regarded as something of a shock. Once considered as lower league cannon fodder at the mercy of better resourced global brands, Leicester have spent the equivalent of the fines accrued from motoring offences by players at richer corporate entities. At the beginning of the season, only the most courageous or foolish of “experts” would have predicted that Leicester would outplay, outscore and outsmart vastly more expensive economic investments. This should not be happening and so it is reasonable to suggest that something is bending the very fabric of the space/time continuum.

A mere 100 years ago, when Leicester City where still called Leicester Fosse and not playing in the old Division Two due to the First World War, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. His General Theory of Relativity remains a theory but credible peer review might just result in a new name. Einstein`s General Law of Relatively might create a few ripples particularly in a creationist universe. Science is competitive and it`s lovely to imagine Einstein running around the 18 yard box with his shirt over his head as Isaac Newton sits forlornly on the goal line with his head buried into his massive yet inadequate goalkeeping gloves. The reality is, however, that both scientists are long dead and in no position to harbour any rivalry. The victor is human understanding.

Professional sport or – more correctly defined – business operates within a different scientific method. Success through victory is the imperative and no amount of integrity, commitment, diligence or fair play is any substitute for a ruthless ambition to make money by whatever means. Competing in the Champions League generates huge TV receipts and playing in the English Premier League accrues only marginally less dosh. Playing in both allows a franchise enough income to buy its way to following seasons of bumper TV ratings.

Manchester United and the infamous Glazers pioneered the procedure of buying success to secure profit with tactics usually associated with Wall Street rather than Stretford Road. Others, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City quickly followed United onto the trading floors of stock exchanges where football is regarded as just another commodity. For poorer “clubs”, the priority is to find a wealthy foreign owner rather than a keeper with a safe pair of hands. If the rumours of the “sale” of Everton to yet another oversees buyer turn out to be true, then for the first time the majority of Premier League clubs will be foreign owned. One proposal already suggested is that foreign owners wish to do away with the uncertainty of relegation. As a business model, the removal of the need to compete is genius and will reduce the unnecessary overhead of buying and paying players.

However, something strange is going on. United failed to beat Sunderland and are, basically, playing drab, boring football. Loyal fans across the Home Counties will shift their allegiance to the East Midlands. Chelsea, for all the wealth and talent, are grateful to occupy mid-table obscurity after facing the very real prospect of relegation. Beating Newcastle 5-1 needs to be considered in the context of Newcastle being sponsored by Wonga. Manchester City look like being a one hit wonder, Liverpool continue to stumble and putting six passed Aston Villa, given the sorry state of that once proud club, is nothing to celebrate. Villa`s inevitable relegation and Liverpool`s climb down on charging 77 quid to watch a game sums up the nature of the current Premier League. Without the money to buy talent and with business types rather than football types running Aston Villa, some bloke in a suit said that Villa was having a successful season. This brilliant grasp of the new General Law of Relativity is based on sales of replica away shirts produced by children in far eastern sweat shops. A great club like Villa deserves better than this and should demand that the British Prime Minister stops pretending to support them.

The massive variable in this black hole of exploitative greed is Leicester City. Playing the same open, attacking, entertaining and, some might say, autistic football, this time last year they faced a prompt relegation to a lower league. Now a light year away from joining Villa; next year they will play Barcelona, Juventus and Benfica. Not even Einstein could have predicted that.

With the great advantage of hindsight, clever pundits have observed that Einstein probably displayed symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. With even greater hindsight, the same syndrome has been assigned to Isaac Newton long before Asperger or the syndrome was recognised. More recently, the genius of Lionel Messi has also been linked to the autism spectrum. Imagine if a wormhole in space/time allowed the three of them to meet.

Leicester City could sign themselves a formidable trio of strikers.

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Getting There.

    Comment by Aiden McHaffie — February 14, 2016 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

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