There was a time in the political history of Britain when cats with an interest in local matters had little or no say in the election of those who would represent them… merely trapped in personal fiefdoms, you might say. They became known as Rotten Boroughs.
There seems to be more than a passing resemblance in today’s sporting contest with the concept of Rotten Boroughs. Just take a look at the extent of influence that their non-footballing owners have over the football appointments in their own personal fiefdoms!
This is also a clash that takes on a strong sense of being manufactured by media representations; where a ‘rotten‘ core of a rivalry has been projected onto a fixture that only very rarely used to involve ‘significant’ matches. It did however involve teams with a perceived rotten core of supporters, so this might well be portrayed as a derby for the rotten boroughs, at least in some twilight world of imagination. Today’s faux politeness requires that teams present friendly greetings before they play at falling over and getting the opposition players booked or sent off!
But, this occasion is also spiced by the need for both teams to drag themselves out of perilous league positions in the early weeks of this season. After a mere handful of matches there is already an important question emerging on local lips…
With a new manager, Paul Trollope, at the start of the season, I chose to name my fantasy football team ‘Pure Trollope’ for this year. As I have said before, this was meant to be ironic commentary, not a documentary! Though we can begin to identify the trollope way of playing emerging as a pattern… create chances, score nothing, then present a relatively poor opposing team a few chances to help themselves to a win. Sounds like the machinations of a rotten borough to me, as one of the dwindling numbers paying for the pain of watching a deja vu experience at each home game.
There again, it could just be that we are the activists who have little need for the power of influence that comes with winning matches and challenging for the big time. Why aspire to such heights, when we can enjoy a permanent state of moaning and disagreement with the way of things?
If Bella was still listening to the current regular diatribe, she might well be asking if this was really about Cardiff City FC, as it sounds remarkably like the current commentary on an increasingly irrelevant Labour Party… a political party assuming a similar projection to the local team… sleepwalking to oblivion. [For those of you with little or no interest in the outcome the final score was Cardiff City 0 Leeds United 2; and Cardiff finally hit rock bottom of the league!].