More hate being directed Spurs way in recent days with the keyboard warriors taking to their weapon of choice to berate Spurs (in general) and Gareth Bale (in particular).
Bale’s crimes are to
(a) be a bit of a diver (true)
(b) look like a chimp (yeah, classy commentary there, ironically, from neanderthals)
(c) complain about Charlie Adam’s most recent foul and then have the audacity to not be injured
(d) not be playing in the Olympics
Taking the last point as the catalyst for this blog, it was collectively agreed at the time by Spurs and the FA that Gareth Bale would not play in the Olympics due to scan results showing evidence of a back injury. Bale made a “quicker than expected” recovery and has gone on to feature prominently in Spurs’ American tour. Now Bale is the target of taunts by OTF and even Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, who thinks he should be banned from playing for Spurs while the Olympic tournament is on.
No one knows the full truth of the situation except the medics and Bale himself. If Bale did have a niggling injury (which it seems pretty certain he did or else the FA medical team would have rejected Spurs’ claims) then why
would he be included? It’s not his fault that his body recovered earlier than expected. What should he do in these circumstances? Not prepare for the new season with Spurs? Sit it out at Spurs Lodge with Luka Modric, Steven Pienaar, and Goran Bunjevcevic?
But leaving all that aside, why should GB play for Team GB anyway? Why should any player be under an obligation to play for an Olympic team – or indeed any international team? And why would fans rebuke them for declaring no alleigance to the country they were born in?
I actually quite admire players who aren’t particularly bothered about playing for their country, refusing to be swayed by the ingrained concepts of “pride” and “patriotism”. Playing for your country is apparently “the greatest honour” (second only courtesy of the rent-a-quote merchants to “captaining your country”).
But why is that perceived to be the case?
A nation is made up of people who just happen to be born within that nation’s borders. They didn’t actually do anything to become “Danish”, “American” or “British”. It’s just an inherited birthright, not a conscious career decision. There’s no achievement in being a certain nationality. It’s where you are from, not who or what you are. We’re not talking about showing hostility towards the issuer of your passport or committing some treasonous act. We’re just talking about indifference – a perfectly valid state of being that perhaps everyone should be tolerant of.
But let’s go one step further. Why should we be forced to represent the country of our birth? Why can’t we choose to be “Independent” – a term for players who wish to have no nationalistic affilitation, who want to play without borders.
You can vote independent rather than a major party in elections. If you don’t beleive in a supernatural deity you can be an atheist. You are asexual if you are not straight or gay. If you don’t like music you can listen to rap. There are examples everywhere.
A team of Independents could feature Stephen Ireland, Wes Brown, Ben Foster, Jason Koumas – and perhaps some good players too. They could determine when and where they play by consensus, not be dictated to by FIFA’s money-hungry agenda. They could appoint the manager, ensure that Kris Boyd would commit by not giving the job to George Burley. And with full independent control over their lack of national affiliation, they could do more important things during international weekends like spend time with their families and their children.
If it was indifference rather than injury that stopped Gareth Bale playing for Great Britain this summer then the only crime he committed was not being up front with us. And, if he had, then the only thing he would have deserved was our understanding, not our vitriol.