“How do the Aberdeen fans feel about Stewart Milne [Chairman of Aberdeen FC] wanting to move away from Pittodrie Stadium?”
The above (roughly paraphrased) question, asked by a poster to the Scottish Football Monitor website, long before Stewart Milne’s latest mouth-events, elicited the following, heartbreakingly inventive, response:
“Ach. Stewart Milne is always on the look out for ways to achieve and do nothing. If an opportunity for inaction presents itself, he’s right in there (leading the moribund shuffle to a rousing standstill).
Getting away with doing nothing is surprisingly hard work, though, and Milne appears to have come to the conclusion that inertia may be cynically transfigured by “vision” – and that “vision” itself is a useful (and proactive-sounding) peg to hang on the nebulous concept of “progress”.
And so the fans may ask: “Stewarty, min? Under your watch Pittodrie has been neglected to the point of decrepitude, the atmosphere is often desperate, and the catering staff appears to wish great harm, perhaps even death, upon us. Fits ‘at a’ aboot?”
The implicit and catch-all negation of these (and similar) gripes is “vision”. The vision of a gleaming new stadium; the vision of an achingly vibrant modernity, always just round the next corner. It would be a form of madness, we are slyly finessed to believe, to tackle or fix the present problems when we’ve so much to tackle and fix and look forward to at some unspecified point in eternity.
This isn’t to say that it won’t ever happen (it very well might) or that Stewart Milne has no redeeming features (he has many, many of those), merely that we’ve heard it all before.
But how does it feel, you asked? It’s difficult to answer that question without coming across as some maudlin crybaby stuck in the (idealised, soft-focus) past – the kind of person, in fact, that should normally provoke a gag reflex in all well-rounded citizens. Still, needs must. (Warning: The following paragraphs are likely to contain scenes of extreme partiality and unreasonableness that some readers may find arousing.)
How does it feel? It feels like shite, that’s how it feels. And it feels this way for a number of reasons; not least because it feels like part of something much bigger and seemingly all-consuming: Greed.
I remember reading a wee while back that Pittodrie, amongst other things, failed to satisfy the requirements of German TV. Whether this assertion is true or not is probably beside the point; the guy was forwarding it as one of the reasons we needed to move stadium and accepted the rationale of his own way of thinking.
But that’s alright, buddypal, I don’t watch German TV, and I’m not sure that many Aberdeen fans will – so where’s your problem? (Even whilst living in Germany, I made a point of not watching German TV, which is maybe a different thing, true, although this course of action is recommended to any would-be visitors to the country and, indeed, to all Germans themselves.)
The requirements of German TV must be a consideration for a team playing in the north east of Scotland? Get stuffed. The requirements of German TV should barely even be a consideration for a team playing in the north east of Germany.
But then I’m not one of those people whose Sundays have ever been made “Super” by throwing a Hull versus Wigan match into the mix. The very thought that there may be people out there who actually buy into this terrible bullshit is enough to lay waste to the soul. It rips into me. The more they chirrup and bray of Super Sundays and the like, the less special it all begins to feel, if it ever felt special at all. Saturated? Bank on it.
What on earth have we allowed come to pass that the TV companies are calling all the shots? Mental. I abjure that our clubs and associations genuflect before them, but they can’t help themselves, it seems. They’ve bought into it. The TV dealers came to the playgrounds…
“Hey meester, you want for to try a Soooper Sunday? Shhh. Good stuff, no? Take home. Try on couch.”
…and after a few imperiously re-arranged kick-off times we’re all suddenly hooked on the “Champions” League or the English Premiership. Except we’re not. Or I’m not. The spectacle is beyond gruesome.
“Psst. Shh. Want more? I be here seven forty five Tuesday or Sunday, subject to last minute change or cancellation in a manner that shall take no account of your travel arrangements or of your worth as a fellow human being. No matter. You always on couch now anyways. I bring.”
Glossy new stadium? You’re alright, thanks. It’s all a bit Super Sunday, a bit Glasgow, a bit Champions League, a bit Qatar, a bit flash, a bit 6.15pm kick-off on a Thursday or whenever, a bit corporate, a bit pricey, a bit wages that seem shameful, a bit soulless and definitely a bit sad. (And the word “sad” is not being used in its more sneering modern incarnation. I mean to say there is a real sadness here, a sense of loss and longing.)
And we should aim for this? That’s not progress, Stewart, that’s madness.
But if we can’t give the Germans any credit for their TV – and we really can’t, I must insist – we can certainly give them credit for their habit of making up spectacularly enjoyable words by randomly cobbling all sorts together.
For example: Torschlusspanik.
“Torschlusspanik is a combination of three German words, and literally translated means “gate-shut-panic.” Apparently the term dates back to the Middle Ages in reference to the panic medieval peasants might have experienced as they rushed to make it back inside the city gates before they closed at nightfall. Being left outside the protective walls would have meant being exposed to the cold, wild animals and perhaps robbers.”
If there is a better word to describe the condition of those feeling left out of the whole Champions League “I worship TV money, me” clanjamfry, I’m yet to hear it.
But they have it the wrong way round; they’re running in the wrong direction. Behind the protective walls of the Champions League is exactly where the wild animals and robbers do their business these days. We’re better off out in the cold.
But, but, but…if we don’t try to keep up we’ll surely get left behind? Precisely. Seize your destiny, Mr Milne: do nothing. It’s what you’re best at. And this time, it might just work.”
Originally posted as a comment to the Scottish Football Monitor website (TSFM), where it died a comprehensive death, as my comments there always tend to. Slightly edited, now it can die a death here, too.