There has been an increasing amount of interest in the game of football around these parts, in recent years. Strangely the method by which it gained popularity in the rest of the world, entrenching itself amidst the plebian masses and the working class, has been turned on its head in Pakistan. Here it is being adopted by the trend setting elite who feel the need to distance themselves from the common man’s game of cricket, with the middle class following suit in imitation. It’s a neo-colonial thing.
Or maybe I’ve been reading too much leftist literature. In any case, the new season of the globally popular English Premier League is well underway now, and it’s worth pointing out to newly interested people the clubs and players that really matter.
Liverpool boast a fantastic selection of famous players to admire from your living room, such as Stevie Gerrard. Well, actually, there’s just Stevie Gerrard. Not only does he sound like an unsuccessful jazz musician, he plays like one as well. Often cited as the best footballer in the Gerrard household, after the dog, his impersonation of a headless chicken out on the pitch is much more convincing than his impersonation of an intelligent human being off of it; being done in for assault not long ago.
Manchester is a city of industry. It hosts two of the richest clubs in the world. Manchester United, who built their wealth by monopolizing the top flight of English football for a number of years and Manchester City; who attracted the interest of rich Arab investors. Al-City as it will soon be called, have spent something approaching NASA’s annual budget to assemble a squad good enough for a top four finish.
United meanwhile are in a bit of a bother with debt these days and keep relying on players they signed during the 1960’s; such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. Their goal keeper is nearing seventy and their manager is on life support. They do have one young player though, Wayne Rooney, who they call the ‘white Pele’ but he plays very much like Pele would if he put his football boots back on at his current age of 69.
Arsenal are an interesting football club, in that they suck horribly and yet manage to retain an international fan base. The Tudors were still ruling England the last time they won a trophy, which was some centuries before the industrial revolution.
Since then, theirs has been a story of misery and woe. Led by a Frenchman who couldn’t get employment as a janitor back in his homeland, they are a young team filled mostly with pre-pubescent boys, thus finding it difficult to maintain discipline. They do especially badly in European competitions, because the matches are held at night, way past the player’s bed time.
Finally, there’s Chelsea. Built on the oil money of Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovich, this is a club that has begun to carve its name into the annals of English football; mainly by purchasing the annals themselves. Money can’t buy happiness but it can sure buy success. Even their players are all about money. Cashley Cole, Petr Cheque, Frank Bankdraft, Branislav Ivanaberich, and so on.
The current incarnation of the side is a little old but led by the peerless and, judging by the way he throws himself to the ground at every contact, soon to be toothless Didier Dogbra, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Oh, there’s also Tottenham, who play in white and think they’re Real Madrid. But they aren’t, so they don’t matter.