So the Premier League allegedly got going yesterday. But pardon me… who, exactly played? Liverpool/Arsenal? The one in mid-possibIe ascent, the other mid-possible turmoil – King Kenny having undoubtedly revitalised the ‘pool, but Wenger looking increasingly lined and drawn with Goonercares.
I confess to having plugged in to MOTD rather more deeply under a blanket than might have been the case if it felt like the Premier League had started. Given the nature of the (few) fixtures both in terms of likely quality and scale, it was no wonder the 3 Wise Men in Generally Shiny Shirts and Lots of Black seemed disinclined to animate the thing. Of course one of these aperitifs before City/United/Chelsea/arguably Tottingham legitimise the menu could have proved energising to the project. The wounded magnificence of Liverpool; the frilly glam that is QPR? They both predictably disappointed. If any side brought a smidge of class to the day… it was probably Bolton. Nuff said?
There seems to have been an elementary cock-up with the scheduling – one that is entirely appropriate to the smug hegemony of PL ‘presence’. They think they’re the unchallenged best, these folks – why else would they offer such an uninspiring entree? The fundamentals of earning the right to an audience, perhaps wanting to increase that audience, appear to be as irrelevant as fair ticket prices.
Depressingly though, it may be that despite the sombre mood and the real difficulties many look destined to face, this absurd balloon-thin carnival may continue to be the receptacle for the nations deluded passions. The thought strikes me –no pun intended – that the moment yesterday when alleged hard man and thug Joey Barton yanks Gervinho up (thuggishly) and then, having received a girly slap, drops shamelessly to the ground in order to get his assailant (I mean fellow professional) sent off, is appropriate, in its cheap, amoral, ludicrous way to the times.
Perhaps that’s how we should understand this new beginning.