Directionless nerd with a first class degree in Criminology and Economics and no clear idea of what to do with it.
Our tour of Lancastrian mill towns beginning with B concludes with the “Clarets” of Burnley – a club which qualifies for this competition by a quirk of the game’s history, but which has plenty of history of its own on which to draw.
Now we come to a team which you may be surprised to see. If you’re a newcomer to football, finding a club currently in League Two (the Fourth Division in old money) qualifying for this league of the all-time best may have you scratching your head; but with four FA Cups and a Charity Shield, the “Trotters” just about make the cut. Having spent more time in the top division without winning it than anybody else, they’d find life tough in the all-time league; but the players who won them those five first-class honours, together with a few from the club’s more recent spell of small-scale success in the twenty-first century, would make it tougher for their opponents than the history-unaware fan might think.
After Arsenal and Aston Villa had taken approximately eight thousand words out of me, I hope it’s not an insult to the club if I say that the next team on my list was a welcome relief. After sorting, selecting and strategically synthesizing the stars and heroes of those heavy histories, something a little lighter was what I looked forward to.
My last post was much longer than I expected, and if that’s any guide then this one won’t be much shorter. Aston Villa’s recent history is not as successful as Arsenal’s, but there was a time when they stood at the top of the honours list, and as recently as the early nineties the two would have had almost identical tallies. They don’t boast as long a run of First Division seasons, but they are now in their 107th. Only Everton, fellow founder members of the Football League, have had more. The players who have won them their twenty-five major honours have been not only some of the greatest footballers, but some of the most colourful characters in the game’s history, and doing them justice will take some time.
Ordering the teams alphabetically, I begin with a club whose inclusion in this league should surprise nobody. In the hundred and one years since Henry Norris talked his team into the top flight, the Arsenal have never been relegated. With a history encompassing thirteen League Championships and a record fourteen FA Cups, they provide us with as rich a selection of players as any team in the league. “Arsenal,” wrote Percy Young (1960), “is the footballer’s pantheon: having achieved distinction in some other place he is transferred there, and to list the great men is but to inscribe the names of practically all footballers of the greatest reputation within the last thirty years.” In the subsequent six decades, although they have not recaptured the undisputed dominance they enjoyed in the thirties, their status among the aristocracy of English soccer has never been in doubt, and that list has only grown longer and longer.
“For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.” (Nick Hornby) If you’re a football fan, those words will probably hit home. Going about your own business, without warning you find your thoughts overtaken by the game and the team you love.
The challenge that prompted this essay: I am actually interested in why so many in the group seem to have a negative view towards modern feminism? Radical feminists exist probably in all waves. And in my opinion, some theories such as toxic masculinity effect both men and women in negative ways. (Please not a shit show, I generally want to hear genuine counterarguments.)
But it gets even worse. More dangerous than any of this is the solution to the workplace problem propounded not merely on the fringes of feminism, but in the mainstream media: the solution that there shall be no children, that by various unnatural devices a woman shall set herself “free” from the most fundamental function of womanhood in order to serve some of the most superficial functions of modern civilisation. The very fact that the unnatural devices are considered necessary is itself instructive, for in that very fact the commercial sphere half-admits its essential inferiority to the domestic. Nuns, feeling themselves called to something higher than the family, have remained childless for professional purposes; but where is the woman who would take a vow of chastity for McDonald’s, and wear to work a habit with the “golden arches” hanging from a necklace? Where is the business man or woman foolish enough to expect her to do such a thing? Modern capitalism is neither as mad nor as noble as that. Instead of self-control we have birth control, which is designed to ensure that there will be no births to control, and abortion, which is very careful to keep quiet about what is being aborted.