Dear Editor, In July, the media will focus attention upon Olympic sportsmen and their preparation in sports that have been ignored for four years, and after September will be ignored for another four years, after football resumes its monopoly.
The monopoly of media attention and space is bad enough, but the brainwashing of a generation and the presumption of priority of football in society has all the hallmarks of recent fascist dictatorships.
Birmingham provides a good example of this lop-sided attitude to sport in built facilities. Beyond the three local football stadia, and the cricket ground, all built on a palatial scale, Birmingham has a single dilapidated athletics venue that any French provincial town would be ashamed of.
The university has better facilities than the city, but is quite separate.
The football clubs make no contribution to the upkeep of local playing fields, nor to school sport, so that while the players and managers make millions and monopolise media and public attention, all else is ignored.
The Premier League like to talk about “trickle down” of cash to lower level clubs and facilities, but that word “trickle” contains the unpleasant truth about corporate greed.
It is taken for granted that the public is obsessed by football, yet the millions of active sportsmen, remain unseen and unsupported.
Every day, athletes, equestrians, sailors, pilots, and ordinary club players of golf, tennis, gymnastics and cricket take part in sport on a scale that dwarfs the football scene, yet they get little or no attention from the media.
Apart from the fanatics (who watch but don’t play football), a large section of the population resent or detest football. The media seems unable to give space to any alternative coverage, or else are so indebted to the Premier League that they are afraid to reduce this imbalance.
Local papers do cover the village cricket teams and other local sports events, but unless you buy the County or Black Country local papers, you would not be aware of the scale and range of real sporting activity beyond the focus on the 33 spoilt darlings in the mega-stadia of the West Midlands.