From tonight’s Chelsea vs Barcelona match, a couple of moments after the final whistle:
For those (a) unable to lip-read, or (b) without PC speakers louder than the PA system at a Guitar Wolf gig, the contentious bit of Didier Drogba’s outburst was reputedly "It's a fucking disgrace". Anger at the performance of the Norwegian referee, or clever back-reference to Bernard Manning’s contribution in the ‘cake’ episode of Brass Eye? You decide. But either way, Drogba set up a shitstorm of manufactured outrage throughout the Sky Sports News Viewer Email and Text Room, the 606 With Tim Lovejoy Twitter Feed*, the Guardian’s minute-by-minute match report, the Justin.tv Evil Telly Pirate Match-Watching Live Chat Feed, and The Entire Rest Of The Football Loving Internet. “But what does BrokenTV think on this important subject?”, you’ll clearly be asking yourselves, unless our myopic view of our readership is hey-ugely misjudged. The very thought!
(*Coincidentally, best bit of tonight’s 606: Tim Lovejoy earnestly pondering how footballers will stop trying to earn penalties by diving once it “stops being fashionable”. Oh Tim, why can’t you be any good at broadcasting, like you were up ‘til about 2002?)
Well, all this has clearly RUINED OUR HONEST BRITISH FOOTBALL FOREVER (or ‘sadly proven the existence of a massive UEFA-led anti-English conspiracy’, it all depends which direction the tabloids take in the morning. And no, don’t think about pointing out how the sending off of Barca’s Abidal for a foul that could just as easily have been a yellow, that’s what Michel Platini wants you to think. Wake up, sheeple!). Anyway, it would seem it has been left up to us to rescue the entire future of football, as per bloody usual. Tsk. Here’s our blueprint:
POINT ONE. Evening matches all finish – as far as the key European television market is concerned – well after the 9pm watershed. With this in mind, when it comes to the post-match interviews with the mighty Geoff Shreeves, footballers and managers should be allowed to swear their ruddyfucking heads off, without fear of recrimination from their respective national and continental football associations. Knowing that they will soon be able to vent their ballycunting spleens in front of millions of global viewers, players will be able to temporarily bottle up any seething anger, and not wrestle the Albanian referee to the ground immediately after that contentious armpit-ball after all.
Star players will escape that third-knockout-stage yellow card after all, and subsequently appear in the following match after all, increasing the entertainment value for the global television audience. Millions of additional Roy Chubby Brown/Chris Rock/Andrew Dice Clay/Jimmy Carr-loving viewers will tune in to the live broadcasts in droves (“the best bit was when Jamie Carragher called the referee a ‘clitsnuffling shitmonkey’! Haw!”). Also, Alex Ferguson’s “Youse are all fucking idiots” rants about journalists can go out on MUTV, Sky Sports News and the BBC Sport Red Button Feed, enriching the entire football experience for everyone.
“But what the foreign broadcasters on different time zones?” you may wonder. Well, the North American cable TV broadcast has long since cut to annoying adverts for lo-cost international phone coverage, The Australian audience speak like a pissed-off docker in everyday parlance anyway, and no-one else outside Europe is really paying attention to what’s being said, or doesn’t even understand English, anyway, Crisis averted.
POINT TWO. HUGE INTERNATIONAL CORRUPTION.
Supposing for a moment that, say, Michel Platini had stuck a deal with Tom Henning Øvrebø before the kick-off of the semi-final. If the Norway-based whistlesmith could fix it for Michel (LEGAL NOTE: THIS IS PURELY COMEDIC SUPPOSITION ON OUR PART) to avoid putting up with another Manchester United versus Chelsea Champions League Final, he would in return somehow fix it for SK Brann’s ‘Brann Stadion’ to host the 2012/13 UEFA Cup Final. That’d be awful, wouldn’t it? Ah, but would it?
Imagine the following scenario: within ten minutes of the kick-off, and a crunching foul by Dani Alves on Frank Lampard well inside the eighteen-yard box going unpunished, it suddenly becomes abundantly clear to all and sundry that the corrupt ref is being paid off by the conniving governing body of the competition (REPEAT DISCLAIMER: THIS IS PURE CONJECTURE). What do we have on our hands here? That’s right, a brilliantly exciting Escape To Victory-style match against All The Odds. Just as long as John Terry can persuade Petr Čech not to crawl out of the freshly-dug tunnel under the tiles of the team bath at half-time, they could still do this. All it needs is for the referee to be interviewed by mighty Geoff Shreeves before kick-off, a half-hearted pledge of “don’t worry, I’ll be ENTIRELY IMPARTIAL” followed by a great big theatrical wink by the referee, and hey presto, massive potential for an ‘Our Brave Boys Overthrowing The Might Of The Corrupt UEFA Junta’ sub-plot. Huge ratings right there. (LEGAL REMINDER: COMEDIC SUPPOSITION, COMEDIC SUPPOSITION, COMEDIC SUPPOSITION. CALL OFF YOUR LEGAL HOUNDS.)
POINT THREE. UNABASHED CHARIDEE.
It’s hard to feel the merest drop of sympathy for a footballer denied a place in a huge showpiece final when it’s adamantly clear he’s trying to engineer an additional £20k per week onto his already six-figuredly handsome weekly pay packet (or a move to Real Madrid) at the end of the current season. So, to offset this, a televised auction takes place the day before the first leg of each knockout round of The World’s Biggest Football Competition (copyright Sky Sports because they don’t have the rights to the World Cup). At this auction, each first team squad clubs together to outbid their opponents – whichever team makes the largest contribution to a charity (based within ten miles of the club’s home stadium) receives a one goal head start for the forthcoming two-legged tie. All monies are deducted from players own salaries, with percentages based on each squad member’s annual salary.
End result: the supporters of each club find out how much each player cares about the community in very real terms, the players have a chance to prove their individual worth as human beings, the television audience sees a slight reduction in the chances of one team sticking ten men behind the ball for 210 minutes because their goalkeeper is really good at saving penalties.
NOTE TO M. PLATINI: In return to you not suing us over POINT TWO, we are happy for you to have the above blueprint for free.