Cometh the celebrity, cometh the hangers-on and there is no bigger hanger-on to English football than Sky television as another Premier League season begins.
Nothing has ticked me off more this week than the invasive Sky adverts at the railway station where I catch my daily train, in the free newspaper I read on the way to work and even on the internet when I get home.
To add working-class authenticity, a northern voice, presumably Sean Bean’s as he did the original ads, interrupts my Spotify playlist to tell me “We know how you feel about football because we feel the same way.” Do you bollocks.
I don’t feel football should be a vehicle to exploit others’ loyalty for financial gain and the political agenda of a vile media baron. And I don’t think a TV station should be allowed to own a penny of a football club, let alone all of its biggest one.
Sky muscled itself into bed with football in 1993 by waving enough cash in its face, proving that everyone has their price. The creation of the Premier League began the pricing out of loyal fans, the exploitation of those who stayed, the unsocial scheduling of games for television and the paying of exorbitant salaries to players, creating a false idol of vacuous consumption for children to idolise. How can anyone morally justify earning 200,000 pounds a week? And what does it say about us that our media is …