Chelsea is no more an ‘English’ football team than the Boston Red Sox

Artist Lindsey Dearnley

There is celebration in the football world at Chelsea’s winning the European Champions League on Saturday night. But I notice that Chelsea’s A team features only two or three English players, the rest consisting of foreign internationals purchased courtesy of the largesse of the club’s billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich. Truth be told, it is no more an English club than Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

Manchester City, meanwhile, is majority owned by a corporation from Abu Dhabi, and has even had its home ground renamed ‘the Etihad stadium’ – Etihad being the motto of the United Arab Emirates. So, it seems that all there is to celebrate is the triumph of Russian money over Arab money. I am surprised that English fans bother supporting these clubs, but then the brand names weave their magic, and supporting traditions die hard.

It is all a far cry from the days when local fans turned up to support local players – or at least home-grown players – and financed their clubs with the proceeds from the turnstiles. Brian Clough used to complain that televised matches were stealing his supporters, but nowadays, premier league clubs could not care less about their supporters. It is also a far cry from the days when English clubs with English players and English managers (along with a sprinkling of Scots, Welsh and Irish) carried off the European Cup. Remember Liverpool and Nottingham Forest? Those were the days when the nation got together and got behind the home team. It really was a national event. They were our boys and we cheered them on.  

Now, could anyone give a toss whether a team owned by an American billionaire (Man Utd, Liverpool), a Thai billionaire (Leicester City), a Russian billionaire (Chelsea), or an Arab billionaire (Man City) is heading the Premier League? True, there is the odd British billionaire owner too – nice for them. But as for home-grown players, or home-grown fans, you can forget it.      

We can rest assured that what has happened to our national game is part and parcel of the Global Britain phenomenon. We are in the business of attracting the brightest and the best from around the world, flogging off our assets, and maximising corporate profits abroad.    

But if you must support a football club, at least be a patriot and support an English club.

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8 Comments on Chelsea is no more an ‘English’ football team than the Boston Red Sox

  1. Chesterton used to say that national patriotism is impossible if it isn’t based on local patriotism. If you don’t love your village, protestations of loving your country ring false.

    Soccer patriotism has rung false for as long as I can remember. Cricket patriotism breathed its last gasp when Yorkshire CCC admitted non-Yorkshiremen to its team. And Rugby Union is now based on “franchises”, not on local loyalties.

    All these changes are a result of the abolition of amateurism in sport.

    There is something badly wrong with a system that destroys local loyalties and thereby weakens national loyalties too.

  2. From Stanley Matthews to Paul ($125 million) Pogba. The transformation of sport from local and national membership, aspiration and competition to a spectator entertainment populated by international mercenaries and owned by cosmpolitan billiionaires resembles the gladiatorial games of decadent Rome. Likewise, the industrial and even agricultural infrastructure is bought up, owned and controlled by foreign interests, financial and even governnmental. All this country “needs” is a foreign population to go with it.

  3. Perhaps the recent attempt to create some sort of super league of selected teams failed not because there isn’t a market for such entertainment but because the would-be investors wanted to base it on existing ‘brands’ whose identities were too localised. Try something else – The Porsche All Stars, for instance; the Glamorous Guccis; ; or some of the made-up names used in computer games. Each brand would need to evoke one widespread human emotion or another. All the rest is bread and circuses, or prolefeed.

  4. I watched a very little of this unfolding horror on subscription TV, SKY or BT, I forget which. The gastric bands of ‘supporters’ ranged around a threequarters empty stadium in some foreign town largely indifferent to their presence.
    The opium of the people lived up to its reputation: from the moment 22 multi-millionaires took to their knees to celebrate the death of a drugged black American criminal to the end of a match of uninspiring, relentless tedium the only beneficiaries were the Far Eastern betting syndicates who presumably had bought and paid for this result prior to kick-off and duly harvested their Dollars, Bhats and Rimbis after its banal ending.
    Did one care who won? If so, why?
    If these players were amongst the world’s best one would have hated to have been in the 12th circle of Hell, sentenced to watch the worst.
    In contrast the EFL Play Offs have at least provided some passion. After all the players here are not (yet at least), multi-millionaires. Some of the clubs’ fans may be from Red Wall yet they also suffer from the same problems as the Chelskis and the Manchester Al Citees of the Premier league, owned by foreign syndicates and Multi-millionaires rather than more eminent criminals. Fat, white middle aged men hero-worship mainly mixed-race collectives of young cretins and thugs who abuse the referees and linesmen whilst committing varying degrees of criminal assaults on each other and exaggerating the consequences; rolling on the ground in agony one minute,, sprinting away athletically after ensuring their opponent has been booked or dismissed by the cowed official.
    The lesson is duly learned by the still young and impressionable. Who says lying and cheating doesn’t pay?
    Rugby is going down the same soulless, corrupt path; in a dozen years the games will be distinguishable only by the shape of the balls and the difference in their levels of remuneration.
    Will we still watch them? Probably, after all what is the alternative? BBC drama and the main stream medias slop pail output of fake news offers the same racist, Marxist lie of multi racial lies as the sports output. Black plantation owners in ‘Bridgerton’, a Black Queen in ‘Ann Boleyn’.
    It all proclaims ‘Black man good. White man bad’.
    How long will it continue? Until it ends in the total deconstruction of a civilisation that is in process of building back better.
    But I’ll watch the ‘Cod Army’ today as they represent the aspirations of the people still trapped like their forefathers in the failed fishing and tourist economy of Morecombe against the former Chartist inspired coal, steel and seaport of Newport.
    Red Walls both, And Red failures no matter who wins today.

  5. I don’t see the point. Liverpool, Man Utd and to a certain extent Forest were packed with Scots and Irish. And whatever you say, people obviously do care, as you’d have seen after the game. But if it’s not for you then fine, don’t watch it.