Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has a blog. He wrote on it following United’s 4-2 win over city rivals Manchester City.
His article is entitled ‘Outstanding Atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams‘:
So much for the start. We’ll fast forward to the bit where Mata talks about Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea.
From this Monday we are already thinking about our next ‘final’, a visit to the leader of the Premiership… going back to Stamford Bridge for the first time will bring me plenty of good memories, for sure. The day I arrived to this great club I wrote: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart”. And I keep thinking the same. At that time I had the chance to thank everybody who helped me in London during those two and a half years, and next Saturday it will be nice to meet former team-mates, fans and friends. I keep good memories of them and I wish them the best…
Call me old-fashioned but I like it when my team’s players don’t declare their love for the opposition. I sympathise with the Newcastle United fan who spotted his side’s goalkeeper Tim Krul wait at half-time to congratulate Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe on scoring what turned out to be the game’s only goal and noted:
“It’s f**ing derby… you don’t laugh with some scum in the tunnel, you either ignore him or kick the sh*t out of him. Nothing else is acceptable.”
A friend is a highly intelligent, sane and respected individual. Whenever a team other than his beloved Manchester United is playing his wishes only destruction on their houses. Unreasonable, inhumane, bigoted and unhinged, of course he is. He’s a fan.
Mata’s cameraderie and admiration for the team that sold him is not what any Manchester United supporter wants to hear. If Mata has to say anything, then wish ill on Chelsea.
Mata’s blog is the verbal equivalent of the player who refuses to celebrate his goal against a former club. The player – let’s call him Cristiano – scores. His teamates celebrate. And he stands, head bowed in respect, alone in the frenzy. It is utterly pathetic.
In the right world, any footballer failing to wildly celebrate a goal – famously described as an act better than sex – should be red-carded and banned for six matches. And that goes for you, too, Juan Mata. If you score against Chelsea, Manchester United fans will not respect your open-palmed apology to the opposition, and I’d wager Chelsea fans won’t either. They want you to slide across the turf and pump your fists like Mike Tyson on speed.
The United fans will love you. The Chelsea fans will regret losing you. You win. Anything else is just sad…
Transfer Balls: the Times says Chelsea are ready to make a move for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott.
Matt Hughes says Walcott, 26, wants to stay at Arsenal. But at the end of this season Walcott’s current contract will have just one year to run.
There is no guantratee Arsenal and Walcott will agree on a new contract. So. He could be off.
But Arsene Wenger says there has been progress:
“The first contacts have been established with the embassy! We will see how that progresses politically. Walcott was difficult to convince (last time) and that’s why it took us much time.”
The Daily Star is reporting in an “EXCLUSIVE” that Manchester City and Chelsea want on sign Everton’s Ross Barkley. The Star adds that the two clubs can have Barkley for £50m.
That is, of course, a ludicrous sum for a promising player. But if Everton can get that much for a young player whose form has dipped, then good luck to them.
The Star’s report contains not a single quote from either Manchester City or Chelsea. It just tells readers that – incredible as it sounds – both clubs would prefer to spend less to buy Barkely.
In the frenzied world of bullshit.com football reporting, The Metro reads the Star’s story and tells its readers:
Chelsea transfer news: Chelsea line up £50million signing of Everton star Ross Barkley
No. They are not. Everton apparently want £50m for their rising star. We’ve read that Chelsea would like to buy him. But any talk of a bid is nonsense.
Over in the Sunday People news is that City will offer £35m Everton for Ross Barkley.
That’s a £10m drop on the £45m the Telegraph said Manchester City were going to bid.
The People’s story also contains not a single fact to support its scoop.
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls: Are Chelsea going to sell Petr Cech? Are Arsenal going to buy him? The Daily Telegraph says Chelsea might be. And Arsenal will pay £10m.
We cast our minds back to November, when the trusty Metro told readers that Cech had joined Arsenal for £7m:
Did he? No. Because The Argus says Chech won’t make any decision on his future until the summer..
Such are the facts…
Chelsea “legend” John Terry has been talking with the Chelsea website about his apprenticeship at Stamford Bridge.
After joining from West Ham United’s academy in 1995 at the age of 14, Terry turned to Dennis Wise, then Chelsea’s irritant-in-chief:
“I used to clean Dennis Wise’s boots. He wanted his boots perfect. I used to take really good care of them.” I used to Vaseline them and stuff like that. They were about size 2½! I learned a lot from Wisey. Every now and then he gave me a little bonus. Every time he scored I was on £25, which was half my wages at the time!”
Good old, Wisey.
“I’d do anything for them (the senior players). I’d make their teas and coffees.” Even silly things like sit on the toilet to make the seat warm for them in the cold winter days at the training ground. It’s bizarre when you think about it but that was part of growing up.”
Transfer Balls: So, how much is Gareth Bale worth to Manchester United, Manchester City and all the usual suspects lining up to buy the Real Madrid star?
The Daily Express says it’s £90m.
That’s the same Daily Express who said Manchester United would buy Bale for £90m last January. They didn’t:
Manchester United had best strike fast because that price is rising. It was £80m in the Daily Express a few weeks ago:
And the Indy said it was £100m.
Mind you, lsate last year the Mail said the figure for Bale was £120m:
It was getting a bit pricey.
But then an oligarch stepped in to reinflate the fee. The Mirror reported that Cheslea will buy Bale for…£150m:
Does anyone know how much Gareth Bale is worth?
Are Arsenal buying Palermo’s Paulo Dybala? The Telegraph says they could be. The paper also says Chelsea might buy him.
The Express says he will cost Manchester United £28.9m – and they want him, too.
The Daily Star says Arsenal are really keen on Karim Benzema – as they are every year. But they have been “rocked” by news that Paris St Germain also want him. But not to worry because that will mean Arsenal sign PSG’s Edinson Cavani for [insert ridiculous amount of money here].
The Daily Express says Arsenal are in for Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti and Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger. But, then, it says Real Madrid want both of those player, too. The Express says it knows this because Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has “specifically requested the duo”. Yeah. He didn’t say “get me whathisface and oojamiflip”. He used their actual names. #flattered.
The Metro, says Arsenal will “snare” Chile international Charles Aranguiz by dangling Alexis Sanchez over a bear pit filled with cash.
Such are the facts…
So. How did the tabloids react to the sight of Liverpool player Steven Gerrard stamping on Manchester United’s Ander Herrera? Did they lead with a photo of the ‘horror’ foul?
Because when Chelsea’s foreigner Diego Costa stamped on a Liverpool player, it was the lead story for all the wrong reasons:
But this time it’s different.
Transfer balls spoits the Daily Express story that Chelsea will spend £150m this summer. Anthony Chapman calls this “incredible”. And it would be.
He informs readers that Chelsea are all set to buy Real Madrid duo Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane. They are Jose Mourinho’s “top targets”.
Great news for Blues. But just five says ago, the Express told readers that Chelsea were spending £75m on three new players.
And in November, the Express said Jose Mourinho has made Marco Reus his TOP TARGET. And he would cost £20m.
And let’s not forget the news in January: “Lionel Messi backed to complete STUNNING £200m Chelsea switch.”
All utter balls in the Daily Express.
When 17-year-old Australian Islamic State fighter, Jake Bilardi, died in a suicide bombing attack, we all saw the photo. There was Jake in his Chelsea kit.
Cheslea’s marketing men must have been delighted by the repeated exposure Bilardi has given their brand.
Fans of other clubs can only smirk when they see a miscreant wearing a rival team’s kit.
When Craig Meehan was arrested during the Shannon Matthews affair, he was photgpahed in his Manchester United kit. Meehan was subsequently convicted of possessing indecent images of children on a computer found in the home he shared with Karen Matthews.
If you see an embarrassing endorsement, please let us know at @theanorak on twittter.
Transfer Balls: Pogba signs for Manchester United and PSG as Marco Verratti joins and leaves Arsenal
Transfer Balls looks at Paul Pogba news. The Daily Express says Pogba has dealt Cheslea huge “BLOW”.
Charles Perrin has news on Pogba, the Frenchman who, according to the Express was sold to Chelsea for £40m, to Arsenal also for £40m and £80m, for £77m to Manchester United, to Arsenal if Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and PSG don’t want him and has agreed to join PSG.
Chelsea and Manchester United have been handed a potential blow in their efforts to sign Paul Pogba.
Not if you ‘ve been reading the Express they haven’t.
The Juventus star has been valued at £77m, but Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti has entertained the idea of a possible swap deal involving the Frenchman… “If PSG were to force me to leave in order to make room for Pogba, then that’s different.”
So. Verratti to Juventus it is. Unless you read the Daily Express, whih says he’s off to Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United.
And Verratti is not going to Juventus:
No wait a minute, he is:
Such are the facts…
When Chelsea lost to PSG in a tetchy, dramatic and acrimonious Champions’ League match last night, some of the newspapers picked sides.
The Times not only comes up with the best headline (“Chelsea polished off by Silva” – PSG’s Thiago Silva scored the decisive goal) but also reports that counter much what we read elsewhere.
Readers learn that Zlatan Ibrahimovich was “extermely unfortuante to be sent off” for a foul on Oscar. He was.
Oliver Kay notes that PSG’s Edinson Cavani performed a “blatant trip” on Diego Costa in the box. Result: No penalty. Matt Dickenson notices David Luiz swing his arm into Costa’s face. It was “disgraceful and blatant”. It “should have been a red card”. Result: no foul. “Devilish” Costa then flew into a “wild challenge” on Thiago Silva. He should have been sent off, says the Times. Was he? No.
Transfer Balls catches the Daily Star’s news that Arsenal and Liverpool are all set to sign Sami Khedira.
Paul Brown says Arsenal and Liverpool will both try to sign the German player when his Real Madrid contract ends on June 30. Offering no proof that they will, Brown then says Chelsea could afford to buy him. Why Chelsea would want Khedira and why Kehdira would want Chelsea are not things that bother the writer. And readers can also imagine what other clubs could afford Khedira.
Maybe Bayern Munich can? After all it was the Daily Star that rold us Khedira was heading to the German champions:
But that would be odd because whilst Brown says Arsenal baulked at Khedira’s wage demands, the, er, Daily Star told us that they didn’t:
But then came Daily Star news that Khedira had gone back on that Arsenal agreement and agreed to join Bayern Munich:
So. He agreed to Arsenal. He agreed to Bayern Munich. Which brings us to the Daily Star’s news that next season Kehedia will be playing for Manchester Untied, Liverprool or Chelsea:
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls: a look at the nonsense written about William Carvalho, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder.
Yesterday the Daily Mirror told its readers that Carvalho could be on his way to Liverpool.
That will come as some news for Manchester United fans because according to reports in the Daily Mirror, Carvalho plays for the Red Devils, who he joined for £37m before the last World Cup:
News of Carvalho’s move to Manchester United was confirmed by the Daily Express, although there it was for a lower fee:
And there was the earlier news in the Daily Star that Carvalho was on the point of signing for Arsenal:
As for the player himself, well, the Daily Express had news that he doesn’t want to play for Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United.
Such are the facts in the mainstream Press…
Sky News has been discussing racism. And that always means racism in football, the obvious stuff when white, working class people in man-made fibres are filmed ranting and raving about a soft target.
Eamonn Holmes, the Sky News anchor, was chairing the debate, which quickly turned to Chelsea fans (club owner: Jewish Russian; supstar striker: black African), a few of whom had been filmed behaving badly on the Paris Metro.
Holmes, a Manchester United fan, puffed up, sat up straight and told viewers that things were rosy at Old Trafford, because sat close to the manager’s dug-out are a few obvious ethnic fans. Said Holmes:
“The group of guys in turbans at Manchester United sends out a lovely message.”
Transfer Balls: The Daily Express is the apogee of all football drivel. Today the paper links Cheslea with Lionel Messi, the Barcalona megastar. The headline declares:
You never know! Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho talks £200m Lionel Messi bid
But hold on. What did Mourinho actually say? Before we get to know, the Express tells readers:
The Argentina international was linked with a £200m switch to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City also keen on securing his services.
Chief among news sources linking Messi to Cheslea was the Daily Express, with no fewer than four more stories on that £200m move:
After five £200m stories – that’s a £1bn Transfer – finally, we get to hear what Mourinho said on Italian TV:
“I think it’s difficult [for Messi to leave]. I have a feeling that Messi will always be Barca. I may be wrong, in football you never know what will happen tomorrow, but I do not see a player of this size out of that club.
Such are the facts…
“But, as I say, I may be wrong.”
To Wembley Stadium for the Capital One Cup Final between Chelsea and Spurs. The once “institutionally racist” Met police have erected an electronic sign to educate the mob:
To the polcie all Spurs and Chesla fans are racists in waiting. Unless the police, those great moralisers, are there to observe, listen, record and threaten football fans will race riot.
They “may” arrest you. Or they “may” not for saying things.
What utter self-serving, moralising, top down balls.
Transfer Balls: Liverpool and Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne wants to play for Arsenal and Manchester United
Transfer Balls catches news of Wolfsburg winger Kevin De Bruyne, 23. The BBC notes that the former Chelsea player “says he would be open to a Premier League return”.
One game we play is to see if the media can link a player with all five of the big clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
The BBC says “with Manchester United mulling over a £30m bid for the former Chelsea player”.
The BBC delivers this as fact. Only at the end does it say the source for the scoop is the Daily Express.
Over there, the paper reports:
How badly does Kevin De Bruyne want to play for Manchester United? He’s quoted:
“I feel very much at home with VfL Wolfsburg in this very moment. I am able to sign a new contract with Wolfsburg. Life in football can be fast moving. Football is much about money. Wolfsburg is not yet like Bayern Munich, of course. And my biggest ambition is to come out for a big European club. One I can win trophies with. As much trophies as possible.”
The Daily Star then spins the balls to take in Chelsea and Arsenal.
Oh. And Manchester City:
And over in the Sun, the news is that De Bruyne is a…Liverpool fan.
It’s a Full House of Balls.
Such are the facts.
Transfer Balls: the Daily Express has news on Arsenal, Chelsea and Sami Khedira.
Arsenal and Chelsea have been joined by Schalke in the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira.
So. Khedira, curently at Real Madrid, is off to either Arsenal, Chelsea or Schalke.
It’s just that the Daily Express told us that Khedira was off to Manchester United:
And there was Bayen Munich, who wanted the player:
And signed the player:
But let’s see what Bild, source of the Express’ latest scoop, has to say:
Two weeks ago, in turn, the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser had reported that Khedira has already agreed to a Bundesliga. Perhaps it involves the FC Schalke …
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls: a look at utter drivel presented as football news in the mainstream media. Today the Express says Liverpool are set to sign Raheem Sterling on a new contract, Arsenal are still going to bid for Paul Pogba, Incardi is off to Chelsea and there is some stuff about Manchester United.
David Wright reports:
Raheem Sterling admits he’s close to putting pen to paper on a new deal at Liverpool, worth a reported £100,000-a-week.
The Express links to the Mail, which reports:
The England star, who is being monitored by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, is yet to commit his future to the Reds despite months of talks between the club and his representatives.
Over in the Liverpool Echo, Sterling is quoted:
“We’re working on it and hopefully it will be sorted soon.”
So. No news, then.
As for Paul Pogba to Arsenal, we’re told:
Arsenal are expected to step up their interest in Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, who is valued at around £80m by the Serie A giants.
Expected by whom? Wright fails to say.
And Incardi? Well, that sgtpory is sourced in the Metro, which notes:
Chelsea are still in pole position to sign Mauro Icardi despite the striker holding contract talks with Inter Milan.
And now for that Manchester United news:
Manchester United are in talks with Fiorentina over a deal for former Manchester City flop Stefan Savic.
That story is soruced in the Daily Star, which reports:
Sport claims United were close to sealing a deal in January before Savic penned fresh terms with La Viola.
So, er, not close at all, then.
More no news in the Daily Express every day…
Fans of Chelsea and Spurs are racist. All of them. Every single one of them is a suspected racist. The Express, Mirror and Sun all lead with the news that Spurs and Chelsea fans are suspects in race crimes. Lord Herman Ouseley, the man the Sun labels the “Race chief” calls for police to “swamp” Wembley when Chelsea and Spurs contest this Sunday’s Capitol One Cup Final.
This week we saw a video of a few West Ham fans giving full throat to their foreskins on the way to play Spurs, a club gamely supported by their vocal and self-styled Yid Army. The Mail calls them “alleged” West Ham fans in language that makes us wonder if being a football fan is now a crime.
Meet Richard Barklie, 50, of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, who was on the Paris Metro when a black man was barred from boarding the train.
Barklie is a former Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer,. He now works as a director of World Human Rights Forum.
To unite the human rights activists and organizations around the globe to protect and to promote human rights, values and global well being necessary for the creation of a better world order.
He’s one of the directors:
Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters speaks on Barklie’s behalf. He says his client did not sing racist chants. He says his client is not a racist:
“As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India, he can point to a CV in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist.”
And, well, we didn’t see him singing anything in the video. And since when is singing a crime?
The full statement runs:
“We act on behalf of Mr Barklie identified as one of the people sought by authorities investigating an incident on the Paris Metro on 16/2/15 . We contacted London Metropolitan Police today to advise that our client is happy to assist with inquiries. Pending formal engagement with police, our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it.
”As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a cv in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist.
”Today a senior official in the World Human Rights Forum confirmed their support for him.
”Mr Barklie is a Chelsea season ticket holder and has travelled to matches for over 20 years now without incident
”He travelled alone to the Paris St Germain match and has no knowledge whatsoever of the identities of the other people depicted in recent YouTube video releases. He wants to stress that he was not and never has been part of any group or faction of Chelsea supporters.
”He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that.
”He accepts he was involved in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S was unable to enter a part of the train.
”He has an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances as they prevailed at that particular time.
”In the meantime pending that, he wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane.
”He readily acknowledges that any judgement on the integrity of his apology will be kept in abeyance pending the outworkings of the investigation.
”Given the extremely sensitive nature of the issues engaged we urge upon all media outlets to exercise as much restraint as possible when commenting on the case.
”We accept on behalf of our client that public interest demands nothing but total indignation and condemnation from all media reporting but such reporting ought not to persist at the expense of undermining Mr Barklie’s right to a fair trial
”Tonight London Met confirmed with us that arrangements were in hand to take the investigation to the next stage.”
Or as the Sunday World put it:
Was it a “secret life”? Once upon a time a secret life would have meant you working as a spy, being gay or murdering womenm in Yorkshire. Now the guilty is secret is that you watch football.
And meanwhile…on the train to Spurs with the West Ham United fans:
But what’s odd about the Daily Mail’s take on that chanting is the headline:
Yeah. Not alleged anti-semites. But “alleged West Ham fans” – as if being a West Ham United fan is a crime; just like being a Chelsea supporter is a “secret life”.
It’s not so much racism the papers hate – it’s football fans…
Joe Mourinho, Chelsea’s egotistical, talented and erudite manager, feels his side are the victims of a conspiracy to defraud them of the Premier League title. He says that to compound poor decisions that go against them, Chelsea don’t get a fair press.
Sat on the Sky Sports sofas, Mourinho pointed the finger at Sky (prop. R Murdoch). He asked them why if a red card-worthy foul by Chelsea’s Diego Costa was a “crime”, a bad foul on a Chelsea player by Burnley striker Ashley Barnes was brushed over?
And as if to prove the point that the Press is unfair to Chelsea, the Sun (prop. R Murdoch) reports on Mourinho ‘s reasoned remarks thus:
A “33 minute rant”. No. It wasn’t. It was bit whinny, a tad self-indulgent, a little monocular and self-serving (what of Chelsea defender Gary Cahill’s dive in the box against Hull city, or Cesc Fabregas’ handball in the box against Arsenal – both unpunished?), but it was not a rant.
And it was entertaining. It would have been much more saw had Mourinho not been sat by the face of corporate telly, Ben Shepherd, a man whose presenting skills appear to have been honed at a call centre briefing for new staff, and the witless and shouty Chris Kamara, a figure possessed by the ability to retell what viwers have just seen in the manner of an amazed puppy seeing a shoe for the first time.
We’d have preferred to see Mourinho sat before Manuel Pelligrini or another of his rivals and a Premier League referee. A good journalist to wrangle them would be an added bonus. It would look a lot like this:
Transfer Balls: Paul Pogba gets a Chelsea salute, Manchester United buy an old Ronaldo and Arsenal get mentioned
TRANSFER Balls: a look at newspaper repoting on footballers. And what utter rot it is. Today the Daily Express says that Chelsea have received a “boost” in their pursuit of Paul Pogba, Manchester United’s “Ronaldo REVELATION” and Arsenal’s “Immobile blow”.
Dealing with each sensation in turn:
SCOOP! The Chelsea Pogba “boost” is that – and this is fantastic – that dangerously thick sod Nicholas Anelka “admitted he would like to see him join Chelsea”.
Is Anelka setting the transfer policy at Chelsea? Does he know Roman Ambramovich is a Jew? Has the world gone mad?
SCOOP! “Manchester United turned down the chance to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo last month.”
Is that because United were reluctant to spend £200m or some other nutzoid sum to make Real Madrid sell the player who isn’t for sale and is happy at Champions’ League favourite Real?
“…reports in Spain suggest when Louis van Gaal was offered the chance to sign Ronaldo, he said ‘no’ to a potential deal.”
That report notes that United would have to pay a world record fee for Ronaldo, who is an ageing hero and gold mine; and the Madrilenos want to buy Spanish David de Gea.
SCOOP! “Arsenal and Liverpool have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Ciro Immobil”
Number of words from anyone at Arsenal and Liveprool: nil.
“I feel I’m at the right level to play with Borussia Dortmund.”
Number of times Imobile mentions Arsenal or Liveprool in his interview in Italy: nil.
Apart from that it was all true…
As he rode the Paris Metro for Chelsea FC’s Champions’ League match, Josh Parsons, 21, was just one of the fans on a night out. Then it happened. A black man named Souleymane S tried to board the train. A few Chelsea fans blocked his path. A few Chelsea fans sang “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” This small moment was captured on camera. The mainstream media picked up the video. And very quickly the shaven-headed and white the fans quickly became the eptiome of racism.
David Cameron said it was “extremely disturbing and very worrying”. In his mind, a nasty moment between a handful of people demanded language more apt for an ISIS snuff movie. Feelings were hurt. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meriticratic melting pot watched by scum fans – was in the dock.
The great moralisers could now bind the nation behind a common enemy. The Chelsea boot boys had heaped shame upon us all. Lessons must be learned. Hang the fact that no-one was physically hurt, that real racism pervades society not from the bottom up, but from the top down: count the number of black faces editing national newspapers; sat on the front benches in Parliament; captaining industry; running the police; owning football clubs or race horses; riding race horses; owning land; dining with the Dons at Oxford; and, well, you name it.
The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.
David Cameron should not lamabaste the Chelsea goons – he should write them thank you letters.
And in the centre of this State-led mob justice is Josh Parsons. He could not have realised that his choice to ride that carriage would have an impact on his life. But it soon did.
The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. He wasn’t pictured chanting, shoving or doing anything other than looking. Alongside the photo of him on the Metro, the Sun thought it wise to feature a thumbnail of Parsons open-mouthed – as if chanting – and apparently shirtless. What a hooligan, eh. But Josh Parsons wasn’t undresed or behaving like that on the Paris Metro.
But never mind the facts. The Sun had its target.
And we can have Parsons.
Parsons, we are told, lives in Dorking, Surrey. (The Times shows us photo of his home.) He is an ex-public schoolboy. On Page 5, the Sun says that the “VILE CHELSEA RACE YOBS” are the subject of an “international hunt”, you know like the White Widow or jihadis are.
And this is because, in the words of the man who filmed the fracas, Chelsea fans were “getting quite agressive”. Mitchell McCoy, who was on the carriage, says the man barred from boarding by the bouncers-on-tour was wearing a PSG scarf, the colours of the club Chelsea were playing. The chant, of course, suggests more sinister motives at play.
We then get more on Parsons. He is a “City high-flyer”. He studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He works for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still can’t find him, the Sun says that Mayfair is in Central London.
Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!
And it gets worse.
One day on and the Daily Star leads with Josh Parsons. Three Chelsea fans have been suspended from watching football at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s ground. Parsons isn’t one of them.
And then it gets really odd. The Star tells readers:
“Meanwhile, seson ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.
The Star likes UKIP and its leader, or “UKIP NIGE”, as they dub him. (The Star once supported the EDL.)
Inside the paper, we hear from Parsons’ boss, Miranda Khadr:
“He is very scared and he called me to say he is not coming in today.”
It’s worth pausing to note that Josh Parsons has commited no crime. In a hideous twisting of facts and prejudices, the story of a man barred from riding the Paris Metro has become the story of a man too scared to leave his house. Who needs a Twitter mob when you have the Press to monster you?
And he is being monstered.
The Guardian makes a declaration in the manner of a lawyer revealing his most damning piece of evidence to the jury:
Chelsea fan in Paris Métro video posed in picture with Nigel Farage
To the righteous, that’s enough to bury him.
A mere nine paragraphs into its diatribe, the Guardian thinks it fair to note:
Wearing a black hooded jacket, Parsons can be seen in the Paris video after those around him appear to have chanted: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” It is unclear from the video whether Parsons was among those chanting or remonstrating with a black commuter, who had been earlier pushed from a carriage.
The Times leads with that picture of Josh Parsons and Farage. The word “racism” hangs like dripping poison beneath the photo.
This time, Farage is no “Nige”. He’s the face of Channel 4’s dire docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days, the show that imagined what the country would be like if UKIP won the Election. For those of you who missed it, the upshot is that life would be awful. It would like living in a carriage with Chelsea fans.
And with that Parsons is no longer a football fan on the train, he’s a chimera of UKIP’s middle-class, petit-bourgeois supporters and knuckle-dragging white racists. He’s the embodiment of everything we are told to fear and despise. He ticks every box.
Football fan: Yes.
UKIP supporter: Yes.
Been seen with a St George flag: Yes.
Josh Parsons has become something less than human, a vulgar symbol of everrything the bien pensant love to hate.
(Not too long ago a Labour MP was lambasted for mocking men who wave the England flag. Not now.)
The Times picks up its sledgehammer to crack the bad egg. With no proof Parsons has broken a law, the Times investigates his mind. It says Parsons was “banned from playing in a football match when he attended the £30,00-a-year Millfield School in Somerset for after sending an allegedly racist tweet about a black referee.”
Did he? It doesn’t matter.
Like anyone sane, we realise that if the sins of the teenage berk are to used to explain the man, well, we could all be shafted.
We’re told that Parsons “smashed plates” when Chelsea lost a match. He and his brother – get this – Beno (!) “left you with no illusions looking at their social meda that they were a) Chelsea fans and b) UKIP supporters.”
Last time we looked neither hobby was illegal.
But it might as well be. Because alongside a picture of Parsons and news that he is being “probed” by his employers, we hear Souleymane (who says he was on his way home) say “LOCK ‘EM UP.”
We also note that the victim says, “No other passengers defended me, but what could anyone do? When the train left I waited for the next train.”
What could Parsons have done?
You might be now be wondering what Josh Parsons did to becomes public enemy Number 1 and live in fear?
And the simple asnwer is nothing. The more complex answer is that he offended the knowing and right-thinking, who look around for offence as a way of explaining themselves, seeking a salve to their own vanities and a mirror to show that how they live and the decisions they make are the right ones.
If you want to spot real, censorious, bigoted scumbags. There you go.