You can forget about your Ken Livingstones and George Galloways. Believe it or not, the left has a new champion, and moreover one who has a plan to sort out England’s footballing woes. Yes, drawing inspiration from the Bolivarian revolutionary process in South America, it’s none other than Liverpool and England legend John Barnes:
“Football is a socialist sport,” he explains. “Financially, some may receive more rewards than others but, from a footballing perspective, for 90 minutes, regardless of whether you are Lionel Messi or the substitute right-back for Argentina, you are all working to the same end.
“The teams which embrace the socialist ideology rather than having superstars, are the teams that are successful. Or if there are superstars they don’t perceive themselves to be that. That’s why I use Messi as an example. As much as he’s a superstar he respects his team-mates and their collective efforts.”…
“Players from other nations when they play for their country are once again a socialist entity, all pulling in the same direction,” he tells me from a dressing room at Supersport’s studios where he is an expert analyst on the World Cup. “The most important thing for every Brazilian player is to play for Brazil.
“It doesn’t matter if he plays for Milan or Manchester United. A Brazilian who puts on that yellow shirt feels the same as the man next to him in that yellow shirt. They have a humility to the shirt. It is not the same for those who wear the Three Lions.”
Barnesy goes on to wax militant about the corporate monster that is the English Premier League, and about the virtues of collective team endeavour against the individualist egotism rampant in the England team.
I like this guy. I wish he was my MP. Or, failing that, England football manager.