By Bill Thomas
It’s good to see that, wherever you look, the influence of the Premier League is to be felt, leading the way across the globe.
You’ll have noticed that in particular in recent weeks in the sphere of American politics as Donald Trump has been installed in the White House. If you look at social media, you’ll find many who are shocked by the way in which he has conducted his business, yet in reality, these are lessons learned from the footballing playbook.
Let’s look, for instance, at the way Trump and his team have tackled the inconvenient truth of the crowd figures in Washington at the Inauguration. Press Secretary Spicer has proudly proclaimed that it was the most watched inauguration ever, period, to much derision.
But let us look at his mentor, Richard Scudamore, who helped institute a Premier League ruling that attendance figures should be based on tickets sold rather than bums on seats. Remember the height of the Arsene Wenger protests at the Emirates last season, when the club doggedly kept putting out crowd figures of 60,000 or more when thanks to the season ticket holder boycott, there were only around 40,000 in the stadium? Oh how we laughed.
But look at the official figures in the record book. In a couple of years they will be taken as gospel and the fiction forgotten. Classic 1984, a year which, of course, no longer exists seeing as how the Premier League has managed to convince everyone that the world began in 1992 with a goal from Brian Deane. Some heretics believe the world was actually created by something called “the big bung”, but enough of (add manager’s name here yourself so we can avoid the libel laws).
Football led the way with alternative facts too. Remember those years when people used to say that Carlton Palmer was an international footballer? How much more alternative do you want to get than that? On the same subject, nice to see Kellyanne Conway wearing the 1970s Birmingham City “penguin” kit from the halcyon days of Trevor Francis to the Inauguration too. Though nobody knows why.
Even in the matter of hair, football got there first – what is that sugary confection atop the Trump skull if not a staggeringly complex comb-over that builds on the pioneering work done by the likes of Bobby Charlton and Ralph Coates.
Censorship is another area where football has pioneered ideas that Trump now calls his own. Did you see the Badlands National Park tweets that had the temerity to tell the truth before they got shut down? Just think of it as the equivalent of the FA tribunal that fines any footballer who might dare to tell the truth about anything related to the game, especially the referee. If you can think it, the Premier League can ban it.
But don’t panic. All is not lost for football can again blaze the trail. After all, Sam Allardyce, a similarly committed true believer in himself, only lasted 67 days before we impeached him.