Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

CoymayThe television series Life on Mars was about a modern day policeman who woke up in the Manchester of 1973 when he recovered from being hit by a car. One of the reasons I thought it was a great show was because, speaking as someone who was 17 in 1973, I thought it did a superb job in recreating the spirit and feeling of that time – this realism stretched to the casual sexist, racist and homophobic attitudes expressed by leading characters like Gene Hunt, who was the officer in charge of the group of policemen the show centred on.

Gene Hunt was fairly typical of so many people of that time. For example, I loved my father, he was a kind and gentle man, but his openly racist vocabulary used to grate with me somewhat – I don’t really blame my dad for that, he was a product of his time and he certainly wasn’t alone in talking the way he sometimes did. Racist attitudes were prevalent in 70’s Britain – how else can you explain the success of the so called comedy show Love Thy Neighbour based on the “hilarious” consequences of having a white couple and a black couple living next door to each other?

Reading that last paragraph back, it makes me sound like a right on (people over a certain age will know what that means!), Liberal type of guy and, it’s true, for better or worse, I’ve always fallen into the “Guardian reader” category. However, that doesn’t mean that forty years ago, I didn’t make any racist, sexist or homophobic comments, because I certainly did – including one overheard by an Asian friend which I regretted the instant I said it. In fact I would argue that, if you are over the age of, say, fifty, you would have to be an exceptional person if you have never ever uttered something racist, sexist or homophobic in your life.

Society has changed in lots of ways in the last forty years and, in my opinion, it’s been for the worse in some respects, but one way in which it has definitely improved is that, by and large, the likes of Eddie Booth (lead character in Love Thy Neighbour) have been consigned to the dustbin – Gene Hunt was laughed at because he was an anachronism.

Most of us old enough to have remembered the 70’s have changed for the better when it comes to the sort of crass attitudes that proliferated then, so, speaking for myself, I find it unsettling, dispiriting and a bit embarrassing that someone who is too young to remember what life was like in 1973, someone who I have backed to the hilt in his dispute with Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan, has such neanderthal, Gene Hunt like attitudes.

Only yesterday I was challenging those who accused ex City manager Malky Mackay and former Head of Recruitment Iain Moody of wrongdoing at Cardiff to, effectively, put up or shut up on a Cardiff City messageboard – none of the  accusers responded, but they have, almost certainly, been vindicated this morning with the appearance of this story  in the Daily Mail.

The first thing to say is that if the club have gone to the FA with the alleged text messages and e-mails sent by Mackay/Moody then they must be pretty certain that they are genuine. Secondly, if they are genuine, then it’s impossible for the two men to mount a reasonable defence for what was said – despite my earlier comments, I think football may be one of those professions that has an above average number of sexist, anti gay, racists in it and so I daresay there are those in the game who sympathise with the views expressed, but there’s no way you’ll catch them saying so.

Feet of clay - this time yesterday, it was widely assumed that Iain Moody and Malky Mackay would be reunited when the latter was installed as Crystal Palace manager, now the disgraced pair appear to face up to the fact that there is a real possibility that neither of them will get  a football related job again.

Feet of clay – this time yesterday, it was widely assumed that Iain Moody and Malky Mackay would be reunited when the latter was installed as Crystal Palace manager, now the disgraced pair appear to have to face up to the fact that there is a real possibility that neither of them will get a football related job again.

Mackay and Moody appear to be not only guilty of holding wholly insensitive and bigoted views, they also seem to have been very stupid to have expressed them on traceable formats – the result is that, as of today (and I would guess for very many years to come), both men appear to have become unemployable in the game.

If the messages seemingly found in the raid on Moody’s home were not bad enough, there is also the allegation that some transfer documents relating to deals done in 2013 were withheld (interestingly, the Mail only mentions Moody’s name in this regard). Now, the very fact that these documents were, allegedly, withheld certainly suggests that whoever was responsible knew that they contained details which could lead to awkward questions being asked – if that is what happened, it’s a virtual admission of guilt.

Now, I would still argue that, when you look at things in purely football terms, Iain Moody’s overall record in terms of players bought into the club isn’t a bad one. Similarly, Malky Mackay is still the best manager I’ve seen at the club in terms of what happened out on the pitch during his time in charge. However, these latest revelations mean that you cannot look at their time at Cardiff in such simplistic terms any more. Both men are heavily damaged goods and I don’t have one iota of sympathy for them – speaking as just a humble member of the Supporters’ Trust, I hope Mackay’s honorary membership is rescinded.

So does all of this mean vindication for Vincent Tan? Well, I would say it’s a partial vindication – for example, one of the main planks of my criticism of him and Simon Lim when it comes to those transfers last summer was that they were prepared to sign them off and authorise other deals at the time, but, if they were not getting to see all of the documents relating to those transfers, then that no longer applies.

However, none of what Mackay and Moody may have got up to is relevant when it comes to what colour we now play in and I hope and trust that this will not lead to an ending of the increasingly anti red feelings seen at matches. Vincent Tan was wrong when he single handedly decided we should play in red more than two years ago and the fact that his former manager and Head of Recruitment seem to be a pair of ignorant racists, sexists and homophobes (one of them at least may be crooked as well) doesn’t alter this one bit.





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8 Responses to Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    Dear Paul,
    I am thinking of changing my moniker to “Red Until I Die”.
    God Bless Mr Tan for withstanding all that racism he has had to put up with.
    And then the ingratitude from the fans.
    Were I him, I would have pulled the plug long ago, and gone back to Malaysia.
    That apart …
    Crystal Palace will one day thank their lucky stars that someone in the FA clearly must have tipped them off at the last minute, and told them that they would be very unwise to sign a contract with Malky. And they should thank their luck not just because they now avoid having all the legal shenanigans that would have eventually resulted. On a footballing front, they have got off lightly too.
    Relegation would have ensued, for Malky cannot hack it at EPL level.
    Someone told me on the phone last night that the Spygate affair resulted from Moody accidentally texting the teamsheet through to Dougie Freedman at Bolton …who promptly re-texted it to Ole.
    Amazing. Can that be right? What do you reckon, Paul?
    Talking of things that are “right”: let us hope that all those agents’ fees that are being questioned, are all above board. That it is not REMOTELY redolent of George Graham and his Scandinavian transfers. For if it is found to be irregular, I can see some mischievous Swansea fan writing to the Chief Constable at Bridgend and asking him to investigate.
    And he will be duty bound to, despite Vincent’s magnanimity in not calling on his services.
    Let us hope that it NEVER comes to that.
    But one can safely predict that it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
    Kindest, as ever,

  2. Anthony Evans says:

    Hi Bob

    Fair play to you for being man enough to take such an honest view after supporting Malky so long. Malky will always be held in high regard by many of us for taking us to the Premiership and introducing a more professional culture (regarding the playing side & approach at least) to the club. Unfortunately he seems to be a very different character in person than the one he’s showed publicly.

    I just hope now that the Tann haters take a step back and have a look at what the guy has put up with in the last 12 months and think about what he has given to us. As Dai Woosnam says, most of us would have packed our bags and left us to the VAT man a long time ago. Let’s hope he’s a forgiving soul.

    Vincent Tann changed our colour to red. To my mind, that is the only thing he has done wrong and he’s even intimated that he’s flexible on this now. I would ask those who oppose him to consider what they would have done is they’d been screwed over in a similar way as he has. And publicly ridiculed by the worlds press.

    I think it’s our turn to eat some humble pie and who knows, he may grant our wish.

    Best Regards

  3. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thank you both for your comments. Dai, Dougie Freedman did say he received that e-mail you mention.
    Anthony, I agree that many City fans need to reassess their position regarding Vincent Tan now, but, speaking for myself, I couldn’t put my feelings about the rebrand completely to one side just because our owner has, almost certainly, been proved to be right about our former manager.
    That said, it will be interesting to see what Mr Tan has to say regarding our kit if we get promoted. There will be things happen that may mean opinions will change in the coming months from where they are now, but I do believe those charged with representing the fans if such discussions take place will need to think long and hard about the approach they take because, if those discussions were taking place today, I don’t believe a gung ho, “blue or else” approach would be appreciated by, probably, the majority of fans, let alone Mr Tan.

  4. Dai Woosnam says:

    Well said, Anthony Evans.
    Spot on.
    I see Harry Redknapp has vouched for Malk’s character.
    Is this the same Harry who is a “straight kind of guy”, and “had nothing to hide” when he took £182K from Milan Mandaric?
    Yet he puts the money in the name of his dog into an obscure Monaco bank!
    As for the “not fit for purpose” LMA …
    The worst thing about the LMA is their intellectual bankruptcy.
    By saying that Malky was only responsible for two of these vile texts, Richard Bevan immediately identifies himself as a total dunce.
    Can’t he “get” the fact that by happily receiving a myriad foul-mouthed texts, without ever ONCE censuring this man Moody (for whom he was effectively his “line manager”), Mackay gave the GREEN LIGHT to racism and the other loathsome “isms”?
    He is thus every bit as guilty as Moody.
    The LMA have totally failed decent young members of our ethnic minorities, who want a career in football.
    These two scoundrels should be banned for at least 10 years, and the LMA face a root and branch overhaul, which must be insisted upon by Greg Dyke.

  5. Dai Woosnam says:

    Oh I forgot to say Paul …
    Thanks for confirming that it WAS a text Moody sent to Dougie Freedman who then immediately forwarded it to Ole !!
    The key word here Paul – as you will be the first to appreciate – is that the text was ACCIDENTALLY sent Freedman.
    And methinks Freedman has no love for Parrish following some strong words about him upping sticks to Bolton. So him “shopping” Moody, was perhaps inevitable.
    But the thing that really stuns me about all this is, had Moody not accidentally pressed the wrong button on his phone, this whole Spygate thing would never have seen the light of day.
    Ah, the perils of modern technology, eh?

  6. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I think that’s an important point Dai – the content of the texts are bad enough, but there’s also a stupidity, an arrogance and a lack of knowledge of how modern telecommunication devices work involved (I’m certainly guilty of the last one of these mind!) involved which, speaking as someone who had a lot of time for Malky Mackay, I find very dispiriting.

  7. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks for appreciating my technology point Paul.

    I hope you will appreciate what I say below about language too.
    Forgive me, my very last sentence, which is emphatically NOT aimed at you personally, as you are the very antithesis of a “jumper on bandwagons”!

    I just wrote this to a friend, who had just told me that he too believed it to be harmless banter:

    With the greatest respect, you are totally WRONG on the text “banter” issue.

    I don’t like political correctness, but I know a little bit about language.

    There has been a sea change in my opinion on the language issue. But I have always been aware of it from when I was 16 or so in 1963/4 and first heard those “two rabbis and a hooker”, Peter Paul and Mary sing Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind.

    And someone explained the line “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” to me!

    I had no idea.

    Simply, Bob Dylan was adding his two cents’ worth into the Civil Rights debate that was raging. He did it OVERTLY in songs like Only A Pawn in the Game and The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll …but also in a more veiled way in other songs like BitW.

    Of course, what he is railing against in that brilliant opening line is the white people’s habit in the Deep South of calling – even elderly – black men, “boy”.

    So that was my first awareness

    But then, I was equally influenced by the story I heard when Lenny Bruce died in 1966.

    He famously said of four letter words “they are only four LETTERS man: they will not bite you”. And it was this “laissez faire” attitude to language that took control of me for the best part of the next half century.

    It was reinforced by hearing the story of Lenny appearing on stage in 1962 to an audience of hip, liberal young Americans, and shocking them with his opening line as he peered out over the footlights into the darkened auditorium.

    His then stunning line was “Are there any n*****s in the house tonight?”

    Shocked silence. Just the noise of the audience shifting in their seats.

    He then went on to ask if there were representatives of the Chinese, Italian, Polish, Mexican, Jewish communities in the audience: again, using their coarsest nicknames.

    At the end of his set, he said the following: “You might wonder why I started with such a shocking sentence. I will tell you why.

    “Would it not be great if President Kennedy could go on TV tonight and say ‘I have just appointed two n*****s to my Cabinet today’. If we could make the word so commonplace that we took all the taboo out of it. If we did that, then we could avoid some little girl in Mississippi going home from school in tears to her parents and saying through her sobs that some white kids have told her that they will not play with her because, they will not play with n*****s.”

    I have to say that I found that reasoning of Lenny Bruce very powerful, and it basically became part of my credo for the next half century.

    So, what caused me to change?

    Well oddly enough, a celebrity who I am no particular fan of.

    Oprah Winfrey.

    She was asked about the N word a year or two back and she said how she despised black rappers who used it.

    And what she then said, just STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS.

    She said “I will never use that word. It was the last word that many black Americans heard as they were strung up from trees in front of jeering mobs of KKK.”

    And she added that as the ladder was pulled away from under them, and they dropped to the glee of the white mob, desperately, frenziedly flailing their legs, the very LAST word they heard on this earth was “I hope it takes you a long time to DIE, n****r”.

    So out of respect for them, she would not give the word currency.

    And I thought …

    And thought …

    And came to the conclusion that I had been wrong about the limited power of language all along.

    And then I thought of someone who knew – every bit as surely as William Shakespeare – that language was all-powerful.

    Joseph Goebbels.

    He use wild and incendiary language to first demonize the Jews.

    This led to their shop windows being smashed.

    This led to they themselves getting physically smashed.

    This led to Jewish writers getting their books burned.

    And finally the unthinkable in such a civilised country as Germany had been for centuries: Jewish people got their BODIES burned.

    Six million women children and men put to the death in the cruellest of ways.

    … (here I swallow hard) and reflect that it all started with …

    … hateful language.

    And THAT is why Mackay and Moody need severe punishment…and for the additional reason, to “decourager les autres”.

    It is no use Malky saying “I am no racist”. Sorry chum, but you ARE. You have proved it taking a myriad racist texts and never complaining even ONCE about the disgraceful tone of your underling Moody’s language, and then compounding it by sending two (although you now say, three) filthy texts of your own.

    How great Vincent Tan has been in all this. And how magnanimous.

    Crystal Palace should go down on their knees in thanks to him.

    If he had really wanted to put the boot into their CLUB – rather than just the two miscreants – he would have waited until the contract had been signed and Malky had been unveiled.

    Imagine the legal brouhaha then, between Palace and Malky!

    I believe Mr Tan is a man with great qualities. The South Wales Echo should apologise to him for jumping on to the blue bandwagon, and trying to kick the man when he was down.


  8. The other Bob Wilson says:

    That’s a superb, powerful message Dai and I agree with 95% of it.
    Starting with the 5% I feel differently about. While I appreciate that you have always been more prepared to accept the rebrand than most and so what I say doesn’t apply to you as much as it does to others, I just don’t get the logic which says because Vincent Tan has been been vindicated in his dispute with Malky Mackay (in the unlikely event Mr Tan ever reads this, I apologise to him for some of the things I’ve said about him on here with regard to that dispute – I accept I was wrong and I jumped to conclusions I shouldn’t have), he is right about changing our kit to red – he wasn’t, he isn’t and he never will be.
    Moving on to the other 95%, I don’t intend to add too much to what you say because you made your point excellently and you don’t need any help from me in doing so. However, I just want to say that it’s modern usage has made the word “banter” just about my least favourite word in the English language – it’s now often used to cover a multitude of sins and, for me, as soon as one of the parties in a dispute uses the “it was only banter” defence, they have lost the moral high ground.

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