Even the most pious football supporter would be hard pressed to admit they didn't enjoy the "other" side of football - you know, the stuff which has very little to do with kicking a ball and more to do with selling papers. Not a week goes by where the latest taxing soap opera isn't dominating the back pages of our newspapers, causing us to poignantly reflect upon the state of our beautiful game and lament for a halcyon era where things were just so much better. This week alone we've been treated to sagas which have turned us into experts on the laws governing a player's nationality, the legitimacy of racial slurs and of course the deleterious effects of smoking. That and a painstakingly ostentatious serialisation of Arry "I can't spell but I can write a bloody book" Redknapp's "auto"biography (which, by the way, absolves him of blame from everything from the relegation of QPR through to the economic crisis).
It often seems the overzealous media have a factory devoted to brewing storms in delicate tea cups, but despite their apparent pleasure in playing the devil's advocate they are not entirely to blame for the endless stream of altercations (mostly, but not entirely). The trouble is the blundering governing body of British football, the FA (not the Premier League, yet), makes it too easy for them to do so. You only need to look as far as their attitudes towards diving, retrospective punishment and racism to see just how fickle they really are. Too often the decisions made by the higher echelons are seemingly made using anything but reason and logic. Too often the so obviously right decision is ignored with an arrogance akin to the many stars they supposedly represent. And too often it feels like they're inconsistency is itself bringing the game into disrepute.
Were it not for an abysmal performance by Tottenham on Sunday the papers would have no doubt carried on fanning the flames of Y-gate (you all know what I'm talking about right? The word that we get arrested for saying). Thankfully instead we were actually treated to blow by blow accounts of Sam Alladyce's tactical masterpiece. Oh Joy. Anyway, while Y-gate is now an extremely contentious issue it is important to realise that this is only due to the FA's capricious scheming. As a North Londoner (the red half thankfully) I know plenty of Tottenham fans, many of whom are Jewish, who sing/sang the "slur" with pride. All offense had been removed from the word, when exactly I don't know, but this wouldn't be the first time a penalised social group have adopted an oppressive, derogatory term and used it as a means of identifying with each other. There were no grievances from Tottenham fans and thus no issue; that is until the FA spun their wheel of stupid ideas and set off on their sanctimonious crusade. Incidentally, at the risk of them appearing consistent, it would be nice of them to tackle the heinous gas noises that are sometimes aimed at the Tottenham fan base.
So, now that as a nation we have left the Y-gate firmly ajar we can move on. I'm not sure if you've heard but there's a witch hunt currently underway as the right-wing, genocidal extremist, Jack Wilshere, stupidly claimed that he wanted to ban all foreigners from playing in the England national team. Despite the fact that he is in fact right, it is worth noting that this all stems from the confused, reactionary policies of the FA. A few years ago it was an offense to even suggest that Spanish born Almunia should receive an England call up, now because Man Utd's Januzaj happens to play in a position where we're short it's ok? It's no secret that our national team is utter shit, but rather than address the problem at it's core the FA have opted to take yet another shortcut and monitor Januzaj's situation. It's indicative of where we are as a footballing nation right now that there is such a huge fuss about whether it is acceptable to call up a talented, but hugely inexperienced young player based on his multi-ethnic background (though he's actually not eligible, so this debate is purely academic). The real issue isn't whether or not it's right to call up him up for England, it's where the hell are the 3 or 4 other guys challenging him for a place and what are the FA doing about it, if anything.
At the risk of sounding like Arsene "been here 17 years but the media still call him French but then why is Januzaj English" Wenger it is all about consistency. The FA are often under as much scrutiny as the players themselves and there is a huge pressure for them to get things right. It is hard to sympathise though with an organisation which acts as impulsively as the FA; an institution which displays no unity, no consistency and no overarching game plan- three traits which, as it stands, epitomise the English game.