To a lot of us football (soccer for our US readers) is the only sport. Any Sunday morning up in the fifteen acres in the Phoenix Park you'll find anything up to 20 pitches full of men and boys sloshing around in muck where little else matters to them except the possibility of seeing a bag of wind whish into the back of a net. Sometimes our whole weekend is hinged upon hearing the right result from the ground where our favourite team is playing.
The world may be in a state of crisis, the laundry may be piling up in unmanageable mountains, the unpaid bills are all over the notice board in the kitchen, but as long as the lads have pulled of a vital result the world's alright with us for another short while. From Buenos Aires to Ballymun football has replaced religion as our opium.
From the slums of the world huge stadiums have risen, built on the money and support of the working class. Sooner or later an investor sees the opportunity to further increase their own huge wealth by buying a football team. Rupert Murdoch - a man more in love with his mobile phone than football, has had his company BSkyB take over Manchester United. The sharks of capitalism never miss an opportunity to make more money. BSkyB's recent take-over is the writing on the wall saying that sooner or later we'll all be fleeced even further for the opportunity to see our team play.
Football used to be about escaping from the world of business. Most of the teams were set up by people who just wanted to lose themselves in the game and forget about their boss or their horrible week of work that awaited them, for just 90 minutes. Now our opium is being broken up and sold back to us in small bags of crack on a pay-per-view channel.
Once football was a love affair but where big business becomes involved it just cheapens it until it becomes a sordid one. They've taken my football team and turned her onto the streets so that she can make a buck. Manchester United has become just another hooker in the growing entertainment industry. It was once worth so much more and it once meant so much more than that.