CRASS HUNGER FOR A SPECTACLE

CHRIS MCGRATH
We saw it in banking. Maybe we’ll see it in football as well. For avarice, in the end, takes on a life of its own. In profiting from the lies they tell, ever faster, those in its thrall become so fat they can no longer keep pace with their own deceit. Finally they are themselves consumed by greed. Human decency and shame are absorbed into some monstrous automaton crashing, blind and drooling, through the bonds that hold a society together.
 Football has all the ingredients in place. It has the big money. It has the big lies. It has conjuring tricks as brazen as any sub-prime mortgage. Through satellite subscriptions and exorbitant tickets and replica shirts, working-class fans have been seduced into servicing the debts of clubs whose inherited romance — which, for many of us, can make a stadium feel like a family hearth — has been looted by corporate bloodsuckers.
 Nobody should be surprised, then, if those who have given the game its glossy veneer should ultimately prove the agents of its implosion. For hype is just another form of mendacity, fuelled by greed. Its sheer intensity might yet generate precisely the sort of vileness and volatility that once purported to justify disenfranchisement of the terrace culture.
New competition between BT and Sky, not to mention the new millions swilling round the game as a result, is injecting corresponding hysteria into the imminent season. And hysteria, you would think, is the very last thing you should give to those in or around the bear pit.  Meanwhile the transfer window  seethes with ever more posturing and resentment. And the commercials dispel the narcolepsy of last spring by vowing that this will prove `the most competitive Premier League season to date’.     THE INDEPENDENT