It’s amazing the parallels you can draw between Richard Nixon’s White House administration and the Leeds United team of the 70s. Both were ugly and corrupt. Both almost universally disliked. Both had a ‘little black book’ of scores to settle. Both are featured in forthcoming films (‘The Damned United’ and Frost/Nixon’) staring Michael Sheen. The main difference, I suppose, is that Nixon’s popularity only ever fell to 23%, which is a level of affection that Leeds United can and could only dream of. Hell, most Leeds fans don’t like Leeds.
It was the little black book thing that got me thinking about this. I mean, traditionally the little black book is used to store the phone number of girls you have no intention of ever ringing or seeing again. Trust Jack Charlton to fill it with names of people he wanted to kick in the nuts. I just don’t see the point in all this revenge nonsense. Why waste your life stewing in bitterness over perceived slights an injustices? The chances are that anyone who crosses you in life will fuck themselves over sooner or later anyway. People don’t need your help to self-destruct.
Which brings me to our old friend, John Warrington. Those who don’t follow the trials and tribulations of FC United, and are only here by mistake as you were googling ‘George Orwell’, ‘Ronaldo Wilmslow’ or, most likely of all given my latest site stats, ‘Leigh Genesis’ aren’t going to have a clue who John Warrington is. And why should you? He’s a no one. An unremarkable man peddling an unremarkable product.
He is the owner/chief exec/whatever behind Invision, operating as NPL TV, a crappy web-based television channel who struck a deal to screen live action and highlights from NPL games last season. It was a shit product anyway, and an ill-conceived idea. Quite who they thought an internet pay-per-view broadcast between two NPL teams was going to appeal to, other than those who were already, physically, at the game remains a mystery shrouded in the dense fog that lives inside Mr. Warrington’s head.
John Warrington entered many a Red’s little book of revenge when he attempted, and succeeded, to move the kick off time of our match at Curzon Ashton from the traditional 3pm to midday. Despite assurances from the League Management Committee that this would not happen without the consent of both affected clubs.
To cut a long and boring story short, the fans boycotted the game, the LMC were furious, and John Warrington went live on BBC Radio to lie and slander our club in order to win a shitty PR battle that no one even gave a flying one about. Curzon-gate was born, and in to the book he went.
But as I said up there, the great thing about being in the right about stuff (as we were on this, but not every, occasion) is that it’s only a matter of time before the subject of your ire falls flat on his face. We didn’t need to go out and gain revenge, as John Warrington is exactly the sort of person who’ll do your job for you. Give him enough rope, and he’ll hoist himself from his own petard, if you’ll let me mix my metaphors clumsily. And just as I afforded myself a wry smile when Iain Mills stood down as director of Bury FC, I did the same when I heard that the league had booted Invision and their wanky web broadcasts in to touch.
According to our ‘fishal site, the following occurred at the League AGM:
“Clubs were also informed that NPL TV has not met its obligations under its agreement with the league and that clubs should not budget to receive the monies that they were promised. We await further information and once known we will share it with our members.”
Which, I guess, is a delicately phrased way of saying the product was shite, no one used it, and we don’t want anything to do with these clowns anymore. Which is marvellous news for those of us who enjoy nothing better than bathing in the sweet, sweet juice of schadenfreude.
I’m sure this will be nowt more than a brief inconvenience to the cuddly Mr. Warrington, but for the likes of us, it’s a significant victory, and further confirmation that we’re moving along the right lines. One of the reasons we’re here is that as match going fans, we were fed up at being secondary considerations to a television audience. At Premier League level, when the TV money is in the hundreds of millions, you can understand, if not accept it. But this is non league. The clubs stood to gain £800 from Mr. Warrington’s web-cam circus. To piss off not just one, but two member clubs for this paltry amount, is as ridiculous as it is scandalous.
I’ll finish off by quoting one of the rather excellent communiques released from our office at the time of the whole sordid affair. They summed up far more delicately and articulately than I could ever manage.
There may be financial, policing or logistical reasons why a game should take place at a time other than 3pm on a Saturday. Indeed it is inevitable that FC United’s games will become the subject of TV interest in the future. The board would therefore like to stress that it is not opposed to the re-arrangement of any fixture date and / or time, provided that it meets with the approval of and benefits the respective clubs and their supporters.
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