More Than One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest!

Alf's Rhubarb Grumble

There is much to question within our world and more that confuses, leaving people wondering if whatever they are hearing or seeing is actually real. Are we the confused ones or are there conspirators in our midst that would blur the lines to keep the truth from emerging?

My paranoia has taken hold!

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence, whether much that is glorious, whether all that is profound does not spring from disease of thought from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.” – Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe

The Premier League is awash with talent, both on the field of play and from the various supporting roles, and is probably one of the finest exports this country has produced in modern business times. We know it attracts a global audience, we know the sums of money have warped realities from inside clubs and from on the terraces too, but are we witnessing the final hurrah before the penny drops and will we all simply turn our backs on a product that is fast becoming the last level of Pac-Man who’s just about to eat his final Pac-Dot?

As fans we can probably see this madness reflected in most Premier League clubs but also within aspiring Championship sides too. The would-be survivors going ‘all in’ just to stay in the game, whilst the hopefuls rally with purpose to call others’ bluff.

Whether it’s transfer fees or salaries, the football pyramid has hoovered up all the wealth, the fans have been sold dreams that can only ever be truly realised by the big power players and the footballers have become power brokers in their own careers. Many look towards the net gain rather than towards the team, the fans and just playing the game.

Children from every generation would look up to their heroes with naive wonder and hope they could one day emulate their gods. Not for any monetary rewards but merely for the love of the game, to make that fantastic save, to make that crucial tackle or score that last minute goal.

Life imitates art and football being our Monet Haystacks that admirers can only stand and stare, bewitched by its beauty and simplicity, but now also by its worth. The new generation coming through the ranks are less likely to ponder and immerse themselves in altruistic purpose, but rather see the money and the power, the flashy car and mansion with the model and the endorsements that accompanies.

Many would look upon our West Ham universe and wonder how the madness has been allowed to get so entrenched? The players and management can only perform to their level best but are we always seeing it on the field of play? The owners claim to be the custodians of West Ham, that fans are the life and soul of the club, so where is the love and respect?

In my more sane moments, I look around the London Stadium and wonder if I am in some kind of trance. A dream-like state induced by mind controlling drugs that must be swallowed morning, noon and night. Is ‘Nurse Ratched’ hovering above me, dictating my every move and thought? Did we really move here? Did we really fall so far and did we ever expect anything more?

The absurdity of the transgressions knows no bounds and we are left to pick up the pieces for we are the ‘lifers’ with no desire or chance of release. Are we wrong to question the insanity and are the sane really the mentally impaired?

These are not isolated instances with many sunsets in between, these are continuing episodes that hold unwanted attention and make us ryth in anguish and sink into depression. This is the Matrix that our club holds over us, that feeds us corporate spin and political blunders which we are supposed to accept.

Our crime has been to allow these infractions to continue for too long, to accept the mental institution as our reference datum, but they did not fathom that we could be the ‘McMurphy’ to question, ridicule and disrupt, nor be the ‘Chief Bromden’ to sit strong and quiet but would gather all forces to break free in the final scenes.

West Ham have become the club that other clubs would gladly not deal with, that other fans will point and snigger at, and all the while the owners maintain a facade that entertains only those in corporate corridors and from media brokers. There are multiple layers of mistruths and defensive posturing whilst the facts, solutions and finances seem locked away in forbidden places that mere mortals dare not tread.

The corporate sanity that fuels us can only remain somewhat intact without trial and breach from rebellion whilst the money bags remain swollen. The latest television deal would see even the lowly finishers of the league bagging £100million a year in addition to gate recipes, corporate sales and transfer dealing profits… If ever there was any of that at West Ham.

The craziness only feeds the madness and beyond. The more money that is at stake, the more money that needs to be spent to guarantee a healthy share of it. The more the clubs chase the coin, the less they will care for the only true constant at any club: the fans! The more money that is offered, the more players and agents will want. Players get insanely rich, young players who have just signed professional contracts can afford to buy mansions, players can warm the substitute’s bench for the term for their contracts and be on tens of thousands of pounds per week.

This is madness! The game is crazy and the money that sloshes around has corrupted the game and the players but has undermined the managers and the fans and, crucially, has devalued the core principles of the game and the wider society.

Regardless of preference or personal opinions, imagine being Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic or even David Moyes now. Did they ever or do they hold the power over players anymore? Or are they merely there to navigate through the complexities of modern footballers’ lives? They try to maintain some kind of order whilst getting the players to sing in harmony, but they are being judged on transfer dealings that were not always of their own designs and players that ludicrously need motivating simply to play the game or just to do the job that they are paid handsomely to do. Results and performances being their judge when moreover this is the area in which they have lesser control than ever before.

West Ham fans are the only speck of sanity left in a club that has become disconnected from the reality of its past and the community which rocked it to sleep every night. The child has grown into a delinquent youth that disrespects its parents and the family as a whole and we have been complicit in our apathy too.

There has been more than one that flew over the cuckoo’s nest, the insanity has run riot. We need to see order in the chaos, expose the truth from beneath the tarnished covers and swap the sane in for the insanity of the game and the club.

About the Author

Alf Gasparro
Life long West Ham United fan, football purist, love motorcycles & soaring with the birds, usually to be found with my head in the clouds...sometimes known as RevelatorAlf