What do the Ashes mean to you? The wrapping up of the extremely one-sided Trent Bridge test has brought the majority of English fans out into raptures of delight. To see how the worm has turned, one only has to look at the headline of Tom Fordyce’s piece on BBC Sport. “Have the Ashes become to predictable?” he asks. Really? Very few predicted England would win this series, and now we’ve gone full circle. I was tempted to throw in a spurious Twelfth Night reference (as the only Billy play I’ve read, and that was out of educational necessity) but that would be pretentious. However, if this Ashes series is anyone’s idea of the food of love, then I would quite like the band to stop playing.
Oh dear. Am I being a frightful curmudgeon?
Who’s that Greek fella who rolls the bloody stone up hill? That one. I feel a bit like him. So let me please do this one more time just to make sure those who want to use my words against me, as some elegant escape narrative for the constant misrepresentation of my points. So, as the bullets were so effective in the last post, let’s play it again Sam, as Humphrey Bogart.did not say in the 1942 film Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, and did you know Casablanca is not the capital of Morocco, and Rick Blaine is not the brother of David Blaine. Anyway, bullets (not rubber, as 10CC sang about in their 1973 single):
• KP is not the illness, he is the symptom of the high-handed treatment the ECB showed towards those they need to build the sport;. The fans. Some of you were OK with it. I was not.
• Outside Cricket is not just about Piers Morgan. Carry on believing that if you wish. This ia about a toffee-nosed, self-selecting elite telling the people who pay their wages that they are not to be concerned with the important things. Like THEIR national side.
• I think Giles Clarke needs to be completely relieved of all duties for cricketing reasons. This is the clean break most needed in the sport in this country. He is, in my view, a malign, contemptuous, entitled charlatan, with about as much empathy as the desk fan I have next to me.
• As certain ECB personnel leaked like my cistern, they are complicit in this episode. To suddenly forget this is not on. Absolutely not on. This may, or may not, be linked to the bullet point above.
• The print media acquiesced and now, after 18 months, they believe the furore has passed. An Ashes win has been a pleasant surprise to them, and now they’ll milk it. And in some cases, settle scores.
TLG wrote a very good piece about his reactions to the Ashes. It was, as usual, excellently put together, brilliantly argued, and he can pay me a bit more if he wants any more nice words. As I said, I can never want England to lose to Australia. That is not in my DNA. I walked down King William Street after the 5th Day in 2006. It was a walk of utter despair, total humiliation and a recognition that a week that started with decent expectations, and indeed with two excellent days to start the test, had gone downhill and then collapsed. It was pitiful. I’ve seen my team lose to a last minute goal at Wembley, a last minute goal in a play-off semi-final and an FA Cup Final, and I’ve never been gutted as I was that day. It was a day long torture session. English angst and passivity powerless in front of mental disintegration. It was a day we were stripped bare. So I’m not in this for the glory or the kudos, and I’ve seen the bad times, and paid a ton
of money to do it. Don’t attack my credentials. To be labelled, as we were in that wretched buffoon Ed Smith’s piece as akin to desperate students trying to garner support for a cod-Marxist rally, I say this. I’m fucking delighted to have been at your last test match, and seen your last test dismissal. The termination of your test career. As Arnie didn’t say “I won’t be back”. (I don’t like being this churlish, but stuff it. He goes on like he’s the world’s brightest light. Arrogant in the extreme).
I’ve seen one tweeter in particular, who Dave Tickner and Dan Brigham gave more house room to than he was entitled, keen to rub people’s noses in it. That an England fan thinks the upshot of the last 18 months is to gloat into other supporters’ faces is an acceptable conclusion, then well. I never meant to gloat in front of other fans unless they were being arses to me and people I give a damn about, and it wasn’t even gloating – it was despair. I would aim my points at the press, the ECB and their enablers, and yes, that included Alastair Cook. Try finding a bad word on this, or my previous blog, about Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Steven Finn, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Adam Lyth, Sam Robson et al. You won’t, unless it’s about cricket performance. This “I’m a better supporter than you” bollocks is that. I have a view, and people read it, but I never claim to be a better supporter. People who oppose my views, and slag me off, are supporters. The difference is, I acknowledge that. They don’t. Oh – the tweeter concerned shares the same surname as the England captain. A nice coincidence.
There’s a long KP related piece in the works to give people the ammunition to call me an obsessive, but that will be released on an appropriate date. What I want to do in the remainder of this ramble is to just set out my feelings on the Ashes triumph.
You want to know why? You know why if you’ve been reading this blog, and it has naff all to do with Kevin Pietersen. Just watch the last Giles Clarke interview in Death of a Gentleman about journalists and administration. Just read Maxie’s incredible piece on The Full Toss. Just read How Did We Lose In Adelaide. Just read @jamiecook1988 and his twitter chat with Tickers and Brigham. Just read Mike Selfey. Just read Paul Newman. Just read Stephen Brenkley. Just read FICJAM. Just attend a speaking engagement with Lovejoy. Just buy The Cricketer. Just read anything by either Alec Swann or The Analyst. Just read Derek Pringle. Watch Paul Allott on Cricket Writers on TV.
The malcontents are treated as the enemy without, not even within – hence the name of this blog. Not once do those who criticise really try to understand why we are like we are – and I am being presumptuous on my clientele here, so do permit me to use “we”. They think we are that fickle that an Ashes win will bring us back into the fold. Fact is, we never left. We were just stuck in the naughty corner of the pen, and the only way to get in with the crowd is to come back with our tail between our legs. Admit we are wrong. Say we are sorry. Bow down to our masters. We are supplicants who need to know their place. WE WERE WRONG. ADMIT IT.
Ain’t gonna happen. I’ll be around for a while yet. So get used to it FICJAM and others. I ain’t going away. I remain, for now, firmly Outside Cricket.