Thursday, 20 October 2011

Reflections on morality

A more contemplative piece than usual, reflecting on the moral aspects of things, particularly with respect to the current situation rather than past events. (Once the common lies have been shown for what they are, there's little point constantly rehashing the facts, although I will revisit certain matters from time to time with fresh posts on the subjects.)

Franchise customers want to be able to view themselves as ordinary football fans and their club as just another football club. A minority claim to revel in the notoriety of Franchise FC and how it came to be, but that's simply the hollow bravado of those who have been forced into that last desperate claim - singing Millwall's 'No one likes us, we don't care' chant is the ultimate irony from a customer base that patently obviously does care what people think of them and their football franchise. So, I'll dispense with the minority of internet warriors, because they may be noisy, but in terms of the Franchise customer base, they simply aren't relevant, whatever they may deludedly think of themselves.

The desire to be viewed as football fans of an ordinary football club is usually accompanied by a raft of arguments about lack of involvement with the franchising move and, ironically for those of us who remember Kris Stewart's quote, of just wanting to watch some football. Now clearly if one wasn't involved directly at the time or even attending early Franchise FC games, then there's nothing to discuss in terms of guilt for the actual move - but that's not what Franchise customers have ever been accused of anyway, which is something a lot of them seem to have a great deal of difficulty grasping. (I have often been given cause to wonder if some of them can actually read and understand basic English and basic argument, because the inability to comprehend even the most straightforward of points and logic crops up far too frequently. As a for instance, what I've just written will, I guarantee it, be reported by some as me saying all Franchise customers are illiterate idiots, when that's simply not what it says. Perhaps the failing is mine for crediting everyone with the same reasonable level of intelligence and understanding, but I'd rather do that than pander to the minority of idiots that can't follow even simple points of argument, logic and reason.)

Franchise customers as a rule seem to think this 'I wasn't involved with the move' line is some sort of Kevlar armour against criticism, but it simply isn't, not if they want to be viewed as football fans following a proper football club instead of customers watching a franchised sport-based entertainment. If they want to be just like other football fans and just like other football clubs, then they are going to have to deal with the moral aspects of how 'their' football club came into being. Let me give you an example:

Here they are expressing outrage that players brought through their academy could be got cheap by bigger clubs. Seems fair enough until you think about what was done to Wimbledon FC's academy as part of the creation of Franchise FC. From a moral standpoint, if they want to show outrage at this sort of thing, then they must also deal with the appalling mistreatment of the academy boys at Wimbledon FC by the people who are still in charge at Franchise. To not do so is to demonstrate blatant hypocrisy.

And let's deal with the 'move on' and 'it's in the past' aspects here as well... Simply because something happened in the past does not mean it can simply be forgotten about. If someone is verbally rude to me today, do they expect that tomorrow they can say 'get over it, that was yesterday' and expect me to forgive or forget? No, of course not. When something wrong is done it must either be corrected or at the very least apologised for, and mere passage of time, be it a day, a month, a year or ten years, will not change the situation one bit.

This is the key aspect that a large number of Franchise customers will not come to terms with - wrongs were done that have never been righted or even apologised for. Those wrongs were done in the formation of 'their' football club, by a man, Pete Winkelman, who instigated the whole chain of events and who is still chairman and owner of Franchise FC. In these circumstances, you cannot simply act as if the actions he took are no longer relevant, because they are. Every time a Franchise customer pays money into Winkelman's pocket, they are rewarding him for his actions, whether that is their intention or not. And they cannot claim ignorance of this, because the facts are widely enough known and being unaware of them is no defence.

If Franchise customers want protection for the youngsters in their academy, then where is the apology for the treatment of Wimbledon FC's youngsters?

If Franchise customers want understanding that it's taking time to build a customer base in MK, then where is the acceptance that Wimbledon deserved the chance to prove the same thing?

If Franchise customers want time to build on their abysmal away following, then where is the acceptance and understanding of the same issues Wimbledon faced?

If Franchise customers want their club run at a massive loss (which it is) to achieve success, then where is the acceptance that Wimbledon FC was in the same boat and not about to be liquidated?

There are many other factors too, things which the new generation is saying that directly reflect the exact same challenges Wimbledon FC faced, but that were used as excuses for franchising the Football League place and which Franchise customers still parrot back as attempted justification.

Morally, whether they like it or not, Franchise customers face a dilemma every time they hand over money to Winkelman, because the wrongs have not been righted or even apologised for, but they continue to reward people who perpetrated those wrongs. Doing nothing, as they have done this whole time, will not change anything. Wrongdoing will not be forgotten, nor will it become acceptable. Until such time as some form of atonement is made, Franchise FC will widely not be accepted as a legitimate football club and Franchise customers will not be accepted as football fans. I certainly don't care whether they like or even accept this, but they will have to accept it and pressure 'their' football club to do something about it if they ever want things to change.

Personally, I don't think there is either the will or ability within the Franchise customer base to do anything about it - the vast majority are simply the 'customers' that I label them to be, who will never have either the awareness or the desire to do what should be done. When they are dwindling in numbers, as they are, and barely able to raise 100 attendees at many away games, you know there simply isn't the spine or the numbers amongst them to actually do anything about anything, never mind bringing pressure to bear on Winkelman. It seems Franchise FC, to a large extent, gets the people it deserves - customers, not fans.

The customers are fond of proclaiming that they are 'here to stay' - something I've never disagreed with, because Franchise FC may well be around indefinitely - but they don't seem to realise the implication of being 'here to stay'. The wrongdoing is also 'here to stay'. The abuses and lies of the past are 'here to stay'. Those like me who will never forget what was done are 'here to stay'. The lack of acceptance of 'their' club and them as 'fans' is 'here to stay'. Unless they actually do something to change that of course... but they won't. They don't have the collective willpower or common sense to do anything that will make a difference.

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