It’s all about timing.
In 1989 I was working in Saudi Arabia where we had possibly the least used TV on the planet. With no VCR, cable or Satellite we were limited to a couple of local terrestrial channels which were constantly occupied by religious programs with the occasional sprinkling of heavily censored “western” movies. You have never experienced a censored movie until you’ve watched the latest Hollywood blockbuster in 20 minutes. Including breaks for advertising.
Things started looking up when one of the local guys at work mentioned that Al Arabiya were showing the Liverpool Arsenal game live later that evening.
It was the last game of the season and Liverpool were odds on to take the title with the Arse needing to beat them by 2 goals to snatch it from their hands.
Rushing back from work half a dozen of us settled down in our company provided villa, on our thread bare furniture, on our oil stained carpets, with a few very large and very ugly cockroaches to add to the atmosphere. Being a big occasion, in the same way Monday or Wednesday is a big occasion when you work in Saudi, everyone was suitably prepared with a good supply of either home made beer or home made wine. It didn’t matter which one you opted for – they both tasted the same.
With 87 minutes on the clock, and the Arse leading by a single goal, the broadcast was interrupted and a sign displayed saying “We would like to inform viewers that it is time for Isha Prayer in the Mecca area.” This was followed by 20 minutes of televised people praying.
It took us 2 days to find out that Michael Thomas had scored for the Arse in the second minute of injury time to give them the match and the First Division title. At least now we know what all those people were praying for.
As I said – it’s all about timing.
Look at Ashley and his efforts at PR. Those of us of a more cynical persuasion may consider that everything that this man says is choreographed in an effort to manipulate the emotions of the Geordie faithful. Personally I have 2 reasons to not believe that. He’s not that smart, and we’re not that dumb.
November he dropped the hint about selling the club, which was met with just a hint of cynicism if nothing else.
In December Kenyon was publicly identified as a prospective buyer. This was a real person with a face, with whom we could relate, so some may have been tempted to take this a little more seriously.
We got through most of January waiting for a sale but all we got was callouses on our butt cheeks (or “Ashleys” as they’ve become known) from sitting for so long, perched on the edge of our seats.
Enter stage right a certain Mr Ashley who decided we couldn’t wait any longer for these time wasters and gave the instruction to chase up on our transfer requirement. What a guy.
We get to the last hours of the window and we receive confirmation of 2 transfers in, and a handful out. It all keeps the wage bill balanced a little better.
The odd thing is that having broken a fairly dismal transfer fee record and brought in 2 players at the last moment, we, the fans, are almost happy now. Let’s face it. A very vocal few were convinced we weren’t going to get anything!
It’s all about the timing.
Are we surprised to hear that Ashley intervened at the last minute to make these deals go through? Not really. Because that’s the kind of guy he is. Not the kind that would intervene. I mean more the kind that would let you know he had intervened.
There will probably be a bit of a grace period with the protests as we wait to see how the new boys affect our performance. Having put in decent shows against Citeh and Spurs we’re almost on a bit of a high, plus we see the possibility of rattling up a few points in the next three or four games, so we don’t really want to jinx that, do we? And we don’t want the new wonderkid coming in and the first thing he sees is a half arsed attempt at a sit in, which it would be because remember, some of the fans are now almost happy!
Give it a few days, probably after the weekend, and our illustrious bleeder will give us an update on the sale of the club. It will say that 17 people are still interested, but nobody has the cash, and even if they did it is unlikely that serious progress will be made until we have secured our Premier League status. After all who would come up with a bag of magic beans big enough to keep Ashley happy if we were in the Championship? This will be followed by a dozen people coming out of the woodwork and urging us to get behind our club, and petitions initiated by Richard Keys and Rio Ferdinand to have the paperwork drawn up for the Canonization of Mike Ashley, and an annual holiday dedicated in his honour.
Having recently moved 10,417 kilometers away from Newcastle to a society that believes that basketball is the only sport worth televising, I recently took the plunge and committed with the local telecoms company to an internet package that gives me 350 Gb of data a month for next to nothing on what can best be described as an “iffy” basis. This was quickly followed by an eight quid IPTV subscription and hey presto, Toon matches with English commentary in FHD.
The time difference here is +8 hours so your bog standard Saturday afternoon kick off is at 11pm, but you’re either a fan or you’re not!
The Man City game, with a local kick off time of 4 in the morning was, I have to admit, a bit of a struggle when it came to motivation, but after a couple of nightcaps I set the alarm and at kick off I was parked in front of the box thanking Globe Telecom and some bloke called Thomas Li from Guangzhong for bringing together all the pieces I needed to enable me to watch the match. The missus collared me the next morning about the empty beer cans, saying it was a bit early in the day, but we’ve had the beer and football discussion before, and I couldn’t see the point in embarrassing her again.
All was going well until the 72nd minute when, with the score all square the picture froze and a message appeared on my screen advising me “You have used 350.56 Gigbytes of your 350 Gigabyte allowance. Service will resume on February 1st”.
Of course, not only did I miss that all important and seriously dodgy penalty from Ritchie, but over the next couple of days I was completely in the dark with regard to the progress being made with those transfers that were thought / hoped / knew / prayed were under way.
Ah yes! Our old friend timing.
Talking of which, this month I’ll need to check for the date of the last game of the month, and if necessary maybe need to temper my viewing habits with regard to the use of my valuable data observing the cultural antics of Bendy Betty and her double jointed playmates. After all, you’re either a fan, or you’re not!
As for Ashley, I don’t think he has either the smarts or the inclination to spend his valuable time trying to manipulate us just to keep us off his back. I honestly don’t think he gives a toss what we think. He probably puts more time and effort deciding which black and white stripy tie to wear. I’m pretty sure that if I had his money, I wouldn’t be worrying about what someone like me thought of me.