Clearly, it didn’t used to be necessary to be terminally stupid in order to write for The Guardian as I’ve written for it. QED. Sure, it’s necessary to be politically right on and anti-capitalist even on the sports pages, we all understand that. But actually stupid? And, well, given the evidence in front of us yes, it does appear to be a qualifying necessity these days.
Here’s Jonathan Liew. He’s talking about how footie will be restarting. Or at least the top level, the premiership, will be. And of course this provokes outrage because inequality. Then he steps over the edge into intellectual la la land:
All of which, allied to the government’s sequential easing of lockdown, would appear to be an argument for resuming all levels of football when it is safe to do so, abetted by generous subsidies for clubs lower down the pyramid to ease the financial burden. But we are a demanding bunch these days, it seems. Only the very best and most lucrative football will sufficiently raise our spirits! So while League Two clubs vote to end the season, while the lower levels of the pyramid saw their seasons voided at a stroke, the biggest clubs continue to accelerate towards restart, utterly convinced of their own insuperable necessity.
At which point it should be possible for even mouth breathers to note that premiership football is more popular than non-premiership. More people watch it, follow it, are interested in it. 50,000 people might be willing to pay £60 each to go watch a top level match. Three men and a dog only turn up at a League Two game if they’re paid to be there.
So, what will raise spirits the most? Top level football.
We can go further too. Imagine we don;t let the 60,000, nor the three and a dog, turn up. Only the sports pages and perhaps the TV audience are allowed. Those at risk are the match days squads and the officials only. And here is some risk of course, however low or marginal it might be.
So, it being a useful guide that we want maximal enjoyment out of any particular level of risk, how are we going to do this? We’re going to try and get those that produce the most interest to take that risk. We’d ask Liverpool to play Everton, not Twerton to climb the hill to Combe Down.
Any rational plan to reopen football is going to ask the top level to open first.