“Moyes Out” it was only a matter of time. One of the downsides to supporting the most famous and talked about clubs in the world is that everyone has an opinion and the vast majority of those opinions are poorly formed and terribly expressed.
The problem began, in truth, long before Moyes had taken charge of his first game. Long before he’d been appointed, even. Long before Ferguson had even won his first European Cup. The problem began when some idiot decided that every person’s opinion was equally valid. Or, if not, then at least worthy of consideration. It’s nonsense and it has lead to a population of intellectually entitled ignoramuses with no collective concept of self-censorship.
It all began when parents and teachers, believing themselves to be inspirational, started telling their students that they could be anything they wanted to be if they worked hard enough and little Timmy, sat at the back with one crayon jammed in his ear and another making its way through his large intestine actually believed her. Years later this belief in his own self worth would lead young Timmy to be the kind of annoying moron who called into radio talk shows with an idea that had occurred to him in the shower and made little to no sense in the real world.
This encouragement of idiocy has been further propagated by the ongoing evolution of popular media. First 24 hour news coverage decided a splendid way to plug the yawning great gaps when there wasn’t actually enough news to fill their ever present coverage was to stick any fool on the street in front of a camera, ask them their opinion on some current event and then pretend that opinion carried some weight. “Well, Dominic from Burnley thinks the pasty tax is all part of a secret government plot to make us eat more cous cous and thus become homosexuals – that’s definitely worthy of some airtime”. And then the development of social media and the means to access it inflated these people’s egos even further. Now every time they had some hair-brained idea they could post it or tweet it. And because most of us are too polite to punch them in the face for constantly assuming we care about the details of their, frankly, mundane and pathetic existence they mistakenly believe there’s some kind of audience for their ill considered shit. Even worse, some of them figured out that these expensive texting machines they carry round in their pocket all day had cameras. And they made videos. Dear Lord, they made videos by the thousand. Each filled with tasty little treats of moronic horseshit served up on youtube with the serious, concerned expression of someone who genuinely believes their backwards, illogical point of view actually means something.
Nowhere was this impact more gratingly felt than amongst football fans. Of course football, like any sport, has always attracted a variety of opinions. It’s a subjective thing and the debate is part of what makes it the greatest sport in the world. Should the referee have played advantage? Was the player active in the lead up to the goal? And, yes, there’s always been some voices expressing slightly odder opinions than most but there’s a place for those types. We always sat them together on the back table in the pub and let them get on with their natter about how Emile Heskey contributed so much more than goals or how they’ve never been able to understand why Steve Mclaren was sacked as England manager. Sometimes my mates will make me sit there for a while, like the time I declared that Michael Carrick would start in United’s midfield ahead of a fully fit and in form Roy Keane. For most of us, though, it was a temporary visit to ensure our rantings got the ridicule they deserved.
Not so anymore. And so, with precisely eight competitive games under his belt as Manchester United’s first new manager in two and a half decades, some braindead simpletons decided a few disappointing results meant it was time to sack David Moyes and get a new manager. At first, one assumed they weren’t being serious. That it was a group of disguised scousers taking a quick break from sniffing glue and stabbing each other to play a trick on United. Or perhaps a new breed of hipster, turning their focus away from dire electronic bands and towards football with a series of “ironic” opinions. But no, sadly, the calls were entirely genuine and thanks to the amplification of social media, talk radio and 24 hour news, they were lent some air of credibility.
So let me state this simply and carefully: Most Manchester United fans know nothing about the game and shouldn’t be taken seriously when they opine upon it. This is true of football fans more widely but the trend is particularly noticeable at the world’s most well supported club. Their opinion is not “just as valid” as mine or any other fan’s because they’re idiots who don’t really care for the game or the club and haven’t actually watched that much football. Manchester United is a fashion accessory to them. They follow it with the same zeal and commitment with which I follow Canadian politics – it’s interesting and I realise it affects a lot of people but I haven’t put in enough time to understand the important details of it. You will notice, as well, a distinct lack of commentary on the topic from my quarter.
The idea of Manchester United sacking their new manager so quickly is preposterous. Quite aside from being a ridiculously stupid idea, it’s also clearly a non starter. Anyone associated with the club knows the plan is to give the new manager time to build his own team. If United avoid a relegation fight this season I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that the same man will be at the helm come August 2014. And rightly so. The truth is we don’t know what Moyes’ footballing philosophy really is. At Everton, a club he kept competitive despite crippling financial restrictions, pragmatism had to dictate style. At United, with a better quality of player and, supposedly, a bigger war chest, that’s not the case anymore. Let’s see what he can do when he really gets the chance.
But these reactionary and ill informed fans will stay and, even if their annoying, whiney little voices of ignorance are given more and more outlets, I am at least partially happy they’re there. After all, as much as I hate them I do love their money. Keep buying the shirts, you gormless little supporter-sheep, each and every one of you. Because that’s where these idiots truly belong, not as a mouthpiece, but in the megastore.
*This piece, and every other contribution to this blog, was inspired by the very inflated sense of self worth and belief in a non existent audience that the writer spent a good amount of energy bemoaning herein. The irony is not lost on him. He also wonders if he should feel any sense of shame centred around this fact, but he definitely doesn’t.