The fallen idol, the exploding billionaire and the impotence of spin

It has been a turbulent week, to say the least. Last Wednesday the club captain talked himself out of a job using the magic of the interweb. The following day, an obese and allegedly immoral billionaire tried, once again, to talk himself into one (I was going to suggest that our Uzbek acquaintance tried to  ‘big himself up’, but looking at him I’m not sure it’s physically possible at this stage; he looks like a less hirsute Mr. Creosote). The timing of the red and White Holdings open letter would certainly appear to have been carefully calculated. We can be in no doubt that the phrasing of RVP’s announcement was just as carefully planned. And, as many have suggested, one would be naive to assume that the two communications were not linked.

In one important respect, however, both the RVP post and the R&W letter got it badly wrong. Both were formulated in such a way as to appeal to us. Both sought to apply pressure on those in charge at our club by a combination of accusation and populist flag waving. RVP’s post was pitched as a message for the fans. The R&W letter sought to assure us that the authors themselves are fans of the club, just as we are. Both sought to align themselves with the aspirations of the club’s supporters, particularly with those most dissatisfied with the lack of recent success, as though those that run the club have lost focus and ambition.

Some of you who read this may well agree with them. You may feel that the club’s directors have lost the plot, and that a lack of investment has retarded the development of the club. You may even believe that some of them are damaging the club, and that the Uzbek’s cash should be gratefully accepted.

I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of these arguments. I will, however, say this: as supporters, you have every right to hold such opinions. You are perfectly entitled to feel dissatisfied, and to make your feelings known.

The Uzbek, however is not your friend. What right do he and his accomplice have to describe themselves as fans? What act has he ever performed that was not done purely for his own self interest? He may well want to bring success to the club. But how can he call himself a supporter? And does he really think we are so stupid as to accept this posturing at face value?

Van Persie is no longer our captain. The day he and the odious Vos published that website post was the day he pulled the armband from his sleeve and burnt it. By adopting the patronising and insulting tactic of making his announcement “for the fans” he destroyed whatever goodwill he would have taken with him had he made his feelings known to his manager in private and with good grace. The perverse outcome of his action is that it has had – in PR terms – exactly the opposite effect than the one intended. Rather than appearing to be a man of principle, we are forced to conclude that his actions are purely motivated by cash. Of course in those terms, he shall be successful – he cannot possibly stay now, and the sooner he leaves the better.

Before I am accused of naivety, I am sure neither our ex-captain and the allegedly criminal Uzbek really give a shit what we supporters think about them. Their pronouncements and principles mean nothing. Their attempts to influence or attract supporters are window dressing. Because in the final analysis, it’s all about money for the player, and power for the wannabe-owner. Greed and ego, nothing more and nothing less.These truths just make their PR efforts appear even more cynical.

So let us not be patronised and preached at. Don’t be fooled by self-serving rhetoric and smoke billowing from the arses of billionaires. It’s up to us to hold on tightly to the principles that make our unique club so great.

Victoria Concordia Crescit, after all.

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