So, here’s the thing. I fully recognize that being the best club in the world (oh, yes we are, and you know it) means that we are a target. People love to love us but of late, love to hate us. It’s the height of transfer season, and it’s worth noting that the traditional newspaper and its attendant journalism has gone the way of the mastodon.
What we have now is the equivalent of a guy dashing about, robes aflame, saying “I’ll tell you anything you want, just douse me with water!” Because it’s now about clicks rather than real journalistic integrity. Made up quotes, ginned-up infatuations with mediocre BritBands (Oasis? Really?), all in the name of a few more clicks, and a few more page views. It doesn’t even matter if you linger. You clicked! Neener, neener! We made our stats for the month.
And you feel like a fool for having fallen for such bollocks.
In my day job, I am a journalist at the Chicago Tribune. It’s a real newspaper, that has transferred its ethical standards to the Internet. People come to journalists and publications because it is assumed that what we do is at least remotely true. You buy fiction because it is labeled as such.
Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez called Arsene Wenger’s mama a ho. He added that he has personally transfused blood with transfer target Cesc Fabregas, to make sure that he had not only Barca DNA in his veins, but Xavi’s DNA.
“It is important that Arsenal understand the parentage of their coach,” said Xavi. “I didn’t even realize it was her as I was driving from my late-night passing practice at the Camp Nou yesterday. I was stunned. I can’t believe that Cesc would want to play for a man whose mother is a ho. I wouldn’t. He will come in January.”
Ding! That took less than a minute to make up. If that were posted on say, tribalfootball.com, the comments would be filled with Arsenal fans talking about how Xavi needs to shut it, Barca is skint, classless, etc, etc.
So when Xavi made “exclusive” comments to a third-tier British daily about how Fabregas will come in January, once Arsenal is out of contention, why did people lose their minds? Do footy fans no longer consider the source?
Puyol had quotes out in the world, driving Arsenal fans crazy, quotes that our captain said he never uttered. Arsenal fans talk about us using the press to tap up Fabregas, paranoid cules talk about British newspapers making stuff up to inflame the relationship between the two clubs, thus ensuring that Fabregas stays.
I remember a time when people relied on the press to report the actual news.
And now we have, in our “corner,” so to speak, Sport and EMD, those two bastions of jackassery, who BOTH continue their “Get out, Zlatan” program by constantly suggesting trades, buys, loans, indentured servitude, anything. “Psst. Trade you something for Zlatan. What ‘cha got?”
See, the “press reports” suggest that apparently Ibrahimovic wants out because he doesn’t want to sit on the bench behind Villa. And the beauty of fiction writing is that you don’t have to have a long memory. This allows you to forget your own stories about our lack of width, and how if Henry weren’t such festering, unalloyed shit, we would be the brilliant club that we were the season of the treble. Then they would read those stories, and realize that Villa does not preclude Ibrahimovic!
But that won’t happen because they are jackasses. Braying, cart-pulling, giant-eared jackasses. It’s almost as if they roll in a giant case of cava, suck down a dozen bottles then apply their booze-addled fingers to a keyboard. No news? Let’s gin some up. Who has a campaign they’d like to start?
Yes, I know. They have been thus since time immemorial. Perhaps I am just feeling acutely aware of the delicate time for our beloved club right now. We have a striker who is coming off a “failure” of a first season (many a striker would love to have the stats that Ibrahimovic had), a new forward who has to integrate into a system that was pretty darned close to perfect without him, a giant, planet-sized absence in the defensive midfield position, a new president who is also a meddler, and other vexation. What I don’t think the club needs is the potential destabilizing influence of a “home” press.
I realize it sucks, because I too look at slow news days and say to myself, “Now what?” When the press says “I got it! Check this out,” then gins up some nonsense, it erodes the trust relationship between press and the public. It’s hard enough being a journalist in this day and age, without some twits sullying the name of the profession by resorting to fiction, to drive clicks during transfer season.
Stop it. Just stop it. But I will leave Mino Raiola, agent of Ibrahimovic, to sum it up for me: “Zlatan will stay. The papers of Barcelona are only good to use at the lavatory.”
–In other news, Villa flew to Mexico to not play. Brilliant. Del Bosque says that Guardiola should have called the troops back earlier, if he was so worried about their fitness prior to the SuperCopa. Look jackass, it’s the flying around to play a few minutes for your damnable vanity project more than the fitness. Get a clue.
–Pinto picked up a knock in practice, and is out for the first leg of the Sevilla Copa. Valdes played a bit against Mexico, and should be fine if needed. I don’t expect that he will have a whole lot to do.
–Eric Abidal says that he “likes” playing at center back. “I like playing there and although I do play there with France, it’s tactically different with Barca.” Whatever, dude. You’re much better at left back. Trust me. Wonder if I should start a rumor about Abidal being on the block because of his inability to perform at centerback, after Guardiola put him there to make up for the absence of Dmitro Txigrinski. Naaaah.
–Friendly watch: Xavi notched a brilliant, match-tying assist in the 90th minute of the Mexico friendly. Ibrahimovic added to his international goal tally about 4 minutes into the Sweden friendly, and Krkic tallied from the spot in Spain’s U-21 match against Finland. All are expected to be back and available for Saturday’s SuperCopa first leg match against Sevilla.
–Still no definitive word on broadcasts of the first leg of the SuperCopa match, wherever you are. As people find out broadcast information for their particular country, please post it here. Thanks.