File that one under ‘headlines that almost work, but don’t’.
So this Hyde business, then. Wrapped up alongside the hilarious piece of ridiculousness that is Manchester city renaming their reserve team the Elite Squad, or the Ultimate Warriors, or the Fantasticos or something, came the news that their games would be played at Ewen Fields. For this dubious honour, Hyde United would receive sponsorship from city in the community, and the ground would receive a lovely blue face lift and a very visible city badge, among other less cosmetic changes.
The whole thing reeks of Garry Cook. Stinks to high heaven of him. city are literally photoshopping history here. When the news first broke on city’s website, they deleted the word ‘United’ from the Ewan Fields main stand. Very obviously and very shoddily photoshopped it. All good fun, all very funny, and all in line with their Welcome To Manchester poster. But you have to wonder how far this localised imperialism will go. Will Cook stop short of sponsoring every Greater Manchester team, getting them all to play in blue, and not just drop their own suffix, but take up the city one? Wigan city. Bolton city. Stockport city. Altrincham city.
In a way it’s cute. Only in one way, mind. Manchester United long since stopped even pretending to give a fuck about the community they are supposed to serve. But city are hell-bent on not encouraging and coaxing local support, but forcing the issue, through the use of Gary Cook’s jack-boot wearing, ham-fisted, marketing secret police. I fear the rewriting of history won’t stop until Grandfathers regale Grandchildren with tales of city’s victorious 1992 Youth team, leading to an era of unequalled success.
Of course, one should also worry about Hyde in all this. They’ve been gobbled up here. Assimilated by a large planet eating robot like Unicron from that Transformers movie. Not the shit one with Franck Lebouef and Ruel Fox in, the cartoon one with Orson Welles. But they get to survive. And man’s will to survive tends to burns brighter and more fiercely than his will for independence and autonomy. They get to play on. And they get to pretend they’ve chosen to revert to their original name, and their original colours, and this was all their idea. But was it fuck. You think city would have got involved with a team playing in red going under the United sobriquet?
Good luck to Hyde. They’re in bed with city, and their survival is now forever linked into the most obscene project ever witnessed in top-flight football. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out for them. At what point will they cease being Hyde, and just become yet another arm in Abu Dhabi/city’s ever more desperate plot for local, national and global domination?