Gambles’ Rambles: raging against the machine (part 2)

Ken by Jake
Ken by Jake

Ken Gambles is a man with a spleen to vent. In part one of his rage against the people in power, he took issue with the FA and the media. This time around he goes global taking FIFA to task and the media again, for what he sees as its influence over the events of last weekend. It’s short but not so sweet.

 Ken Gambles looking for the elephant in the stadium
Ken Gambles looking for more elephants in the stadium

My discomfort with the workings of the FA carries me seamlessly on to FIFA, an embodiment of the misuse of power.
The World Cup 2022 summer tournament is awarded to the oil rich State of Qatar. Wait a minute, it’s decided that it’s too hot there in summer so FIFA will change it to winter. In my book the whole bidding process was held under false pretences. I hope that the USA and Australia make a legal challenge so that the decision is retaken or substantial compensation is paid.

And so to last week-end’s events. (Sorry M Salut I couldn’t resist my own two penn’orth). The orchestrators of the anti-Di Canio campaign are no doubt satisfied with their work and enjoying their saucer of cream. I think there were issues on both sides and that eventually more might come out to enable a better judgement to be made. Might I just make one serious observation. I was slightly to the left of the demonstrating fans at West Brom. I knew this would be an important media moment so was determined to see exactly what was going on. At best there were only 30 or 40 fans shouting out. Another 600 or so either clapped or stood in silence (admittedly large numbers had already headed for the buses). Of course it was the protesting fans who got the media coverage. Whatever the rights and wrongs there was no sense of a crowd rebellion.

The sacking on Sunday reminds me very much of events that happened on a few occasions to fellow school teachers. A sixth-former would be reprimanded for missing work or non-attendance at lessons. Cue visit of said sixth-former to Head of Sixth to complain about the member of staff who didn’t explain things well, who picked on him and who had destroyed his love of History, Geography or whatever. A couple of friends approach the Head of Sixth form to con firm and for good measure a parent might complain. Upshot is that it was the teacher who was put under pressure, often removed from the class and the miscreant went Scot free.

... Jake suspects PDC may have overlooked a change in the law.
… Jake’s view of PDC before he was removed from The Remove. Crikey!

If in Lord Acton’s words ‘power corrupts’ I think that there is plenty of evidence in the world of football to feel he was on the right lines. It is difficult to know what specifically we can do about other than to keep making our voices heard and to support any worthwhile campaigns such as that against overpriced tickets. In the words of Frederick Douglas, a freed slave writing in 1857, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand – it never did and it never will.’ Let’s keep demanding something better.

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9 thoughts on “Gambles’ Rambles: raging against the machine (part 2)”

  1. I entirely respect your view Malcolm ,but does not the fact the players ‘ would like an english manager’ set alarm bells ringing?As for ‘running through a brick wall ‘ for Martin O’Neill ,they showed they wouldn’t even tiptoe through a field of daisies.

  2. Well you brought it up and implied that it was one or two disgruntled players, in tandem with a few media types who distorted the feelings of the fans by focussing on only 30 or 40 who openly showed their dissatisfaction.

    The fact is that football fans tend to be loyal to their club and the majority, myself included, won’t boo the players or the manager openly. It was apparent that things weren’t going well after a whole raft of changes at the club and a whole host of new signings. Things on and off the pitch were obviously not right and something had to be done.

    Rather than adopt the stance that things turned out the way they did because players are becoming too powerful, I would like to think that the senior pros at the club actually take pride in their work, want to do well and could see that they wouldn’t produce their best being publicly criticised and who knows what behind the scenes.

    The film “This Damned United”, a dramatisation of Brian Clough’s brief time at Leeds portrayed Bremner, Giles, et al as the true reason he got the sack. I don’t think O’Shea, Cattermole, Brown, Gardner, Larsson were responsible for Di Canio’s sacking. He was heading out the door and their deputation only served to support the owner’s view his methods wouldn’t get the desired results.

    The person with the ultimate power is Ellis Short. I didn’t agree with the way he replaced MON with PDC although I do think MON was taking us down. Whether we would have gone down is hypothetical as it happens – we’ll never know.

    You write some thought provoking stuff, a lot of which I agree with, but on this I can’t go along with your point of view. The one person who seems to be coming out of this sad state of affairs smelling of roses is Kevin Ball who is being respectful to all parties and careful not to be seen to be openly critical of anyone. Certainly the players responded to that on Tuesday. Tomorrow will be interesting – in terms of set up, body language, commitment, substitutions etc. My head can’t see us winning if I’m honest, but there were plenty of upsets today to back the hope my heart says will see us home.

  3. Power corrupts, but only when it is allowed to continue unfettered and unchecked. It’s influence grows in the absence of opposition to the point where it all boils over and the level of its own corruption is laid bare for all to see.

    The Qatar World Cup is a perfect example of it. FIFA have behaved like some sort of mafia for long and long enough. National governing bodies have failed to stand up to them due to fear and punishment for voicing any sort of opposition to the tyrants in charge.

    Only when it reaches the levels of farce summarised so eloquently in Ken’s article does it become possible to challenge the sheer lunacy of their decision making and hopefully in time the rationale behind that lunacy.

  4. I didn’t want this to become a discussion about Paolo, more about the misuse of power generally.There will be two sides to the dismissal and I suspect there is much we are not yet being told.Whether we ever will know the full story is doubtful for at the moment it is only surmise with few hard facts available.

  5. If power corrupts, I’d say it was PdC who was corrupted. I don’t hold with the anti-player power argument. PdC was not only failing to motivate the players, he was actually de-motivating them. Had he carried on, performances would have got worse and worse, so I for one am grateful to them for standing up to unacceptable treatment.

  6. PDc’s problem was he was trying to fight a battle football lost many years ago.Players run the game now like it or not. PDC was never going to win that battle.

    Not only that,he seems ever so slightly barking mad.I have never heard of players rebelling like this so things must have been really bad.Ellis took a caklculated risk and it backfied rapidly,so he is moving on as soon as he can.I personally trust him,his prompt action has saved us being relegated twice so far,and I am sure he intends on the hat-trick this year.
    One thing is for sure we did not have time to do it Paulo’s way…whatever that was.

  7. I think what I’m saying Malcolm is that the people with the power are usually wrong,not always,but more times than not.I agree that Paolo’s dismissal causes differing views,yet the worry for me is that the players seem to have too much control and after 3 years of them I have no faith in their character or judgement.

    • My point Ken is that people understand the firm but fair approach but will not give of their best when humiliated or subject to unfair and constant criticism. I am not going for this player power approach. As I see it they had had enough and lost respect for a man whose methods they had no faith in. Like many I welcomed the initial promises of hard work and professionalism but Di Canio was treating them like kids.

      When I was in my thirties I had a job in an office. One day I was late because a road accident brought traffic to a standstill. The manager asked me to write down 1. why I was late, 2. why I hadn’t rung to say I was going to be late and 3. why I would never be late again. My answers – 1. the road was closed 2. I didn’t have a mobile (it was 1991) and 3. I wasn’t going to be treated like a child and this was my resignation. I cleared my desk and left. I can imagine the players feeling the same.

  8. Your analogy concerning school teachers is an interesting one. I once worked for a headteacher who was a bully and abused the power of the post. He/she took it in turns to victimise particular members of staff. Several left of their own accord, a few were pushed and a couple involved their unions who negotiated favourable terms for their departure whilst ensuring that these good teachers would not be victimised in their search for alternative jobs.

    Unfortunately the Head had the Chair of Governors on board and so any complaints that went through that channel would fall on deaf ears. I worked in the Primary sector, where there are not the numbers of staff that there are in Secondary. It was impossible to get mass opposition to the Head because half the staff had management posts and didn’t want to risk their careers and the others simply kept their heads down hoping they wouldn’t be next.

    I chose to leave when one colleague became ill because of the stress when it was her turn for the treatment and was eventually hounded out of her job. I lost my respect for the Head and decided I couldn’t work for that particular person any more.

    Going back further in time, when I was at Grammar School in the sixties we had a Geography teacher who was renowned for his use of corporal punishment. His lessons consisted of making us copy huge chunks out of text books and his lunchtimes were spent in the Red Lion. He once slapped me across the face because I had an infection in my gums, my cheek was swollen and he decided I was eating a sweet. A bloke like that wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a classroom these days.

    I’m not disputing the facts of your analogy but there are times when the people with the power are not always right.

    One last thing about the Ellis Short/PDC scenario that nobody has yet touched on. Di Canio’s public slagging off of players and his assertions that some of them had no future at Sunderland whilst he was boss would do nothing for their market value. No club in their right mind would have offered a decent price for Bardsley or Cattermole and Ellis Short would have had to sit back and watch them draw their wages, knowing they had nothing to offer the club whilst Di Canio picked the side. Getting rid of him was the right option.

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