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Tellin’ Stories

You’ve got to hand it to Spurs, they played a blinder over Son. A masterclass in how to weave a story in a post-truth world.

The idea of ‘objective truth’, the concept that certain facts and events can be established as definitive has taken a bit of a battering in recent years. In the old modernist world, to establish a ‘truth’ you scoured sources, gathered supporting evidence and built a picture of what happened. The idea was to present a case so robust that it would be immune to challenge. The evidence supported the story and the story told the truth.

In the post-modern world, all that goes out the window. Facts or truths are unattainable as all evidence is relative. All that remains is perspective and interpretation. At its best this was a refreshing challenge to the dogma of modernists. At its worst, its relativism, the idea that my story is just as valid as yours, led inexorably to some dark corners.

If all this sounds a bit heavy, bear with me. In the aftermath of the Spurs game, most Evertonians have been left frustrated, angry and slightly bewildered by what has taken place with regard to Son and Gomes. 

For those of us who watched the game, the chronology and the ‘truth’ is clear. Son got an arm in the face off Gomes. Annoyed, the red mist descended. Eager to exact some retribution to someone in a Blue shirt, Son went-a-hunting. First, he tried to get Iwobi but was too slow. Next, he zeroed in on Gomes, arriving so late for the tackle is was as though they were playing in different time zones.

The idea of inflicting such a horrific injury was likely not on Son’s mind. He might not be the saint the media makes him out to be, but he’s clearly not psychotic. But, importantly, the motivation for what happened is clear to Evertonians. It was a shithouse tackle, undertaken with little but revenge in mind.

If the media we consume was characterised by narratives rooted in objective truth, then that would be the story that was told. And likely, had that story been told, it might have made the job of rescinding Son’s red card that bit more challenging for the FA. But that isn’t the world we live in.

Instead, we live in one of competing stories, each of equal value. The Spurs narrative told a different ‘truth’. In their story, Son is simply a wonderful human being without a malicious bone in his body. The tackle was late but it wasn’t dangerous or motivated by anything other than getting the ball. And after he realised what had happened, he was clearly distraught. So distraught that there was talk of therapy, of him missing games. 

The story was repeated faithfully by manager and players alike and, tapping into his nice guy image, repeated across the media. 

We, as fans, waited for the real version to emerge. Surely someone would mention what had happened just minutes earlier? Surely someone would point out that Son, like most players, has snapped in the past, both at Spurs and Leverkusen? Surely, someone would say that Gomes is the only victim here and that attempts to represent Son as co-victim rather than transgressor are simply insulting.

But that was never going to happen. The Spurs PR machine was so good and the Everton one so poor, that the Tottenham narrative became accepted gospel. So, on Wednesday, when Son scored in the Champions League and made a show of public contrition, he was widely lauded. That’s the media and other fans praising a player who days earlier had nearly ended a fellow pros career and rather than accept blame and take a brief but fitting punishment had instead done everything he can to wriggle away from any responsibility or consequence.

For Evertonians, the key element in all of the above, and one that has left many slightly disgusted at the club, was Everton’s apparent indifference to what was going on. 

From our perspective, the club should have been out there, shouting from the rooftops that what had occurred was a disgrace, that the player in question was blinded by thoughts of revenge and so a ban of three games needs to be the minimum he faces. Video of the whole affair, from the Gomes arm in the face to the shithouse tackle should’ve been playing on a loop on the club’s social media channels. We wanted to see interviews, by Silva, Kenwright and the players in which they emphasised that Gomes is the victim, not Son. Everton should’ve been clamouring for Son to pay for what happened.

But the club did none of that. Instead, it just meekly rolled over and let this terrible incident go unanswered.

If this was an isolated example it might be more forgivable. But it isn’t. In the last few weeks alone, there has been the silence over what happened to Gomes, silence with regard to the multiple VAR decisions that have gone against the club and after Richarlison was publicly called out for being a diver by Paul Joyce, cowardly acceptance of that claim from the manager.

Everton seem to have become the kind of club who will let you do whatever you want to them. Feel like testing out new VAR rules on us? No problem. Feel like slagging off our players for no apparent reason? Go right ahead. Feel like trying to end one of players careers without consequence? Well, of course you can.

In modern football, and in the modern world, you can’t be that passive. Or if you choose to be, you can’t then be surprised if you get routinely fucked over. Those who are the most adept, most forceful at putting their story across are the ones who are going to get their own way.

Take Liverpool and their ‘legendary’ atmosphere for example. Does anyone really think that Anfield genuinely has the best atmosphere in England? We all know that at times it is as quiet as a library, that chanting is often piped in, that the big noise only rocks up for the big games. But it doesn’t matter because Liverpool have excelled at spinning the narrative that it is the best atmosphere in the country, a story that is now widely accepted as being the ‘truth’.

Everton have got to wise up. The club needs to be out there fighting for attention, putting the Everton ‘story’ across, making sure that our narrative is heard. Sitting back and doing nothing, letting others do what they want with us is just shameful. 

There is a palpable sense of anger around at the moment, a feeling that the club simply does not give a fuck. And that is not something that any football club should be actively cultivating.

  1. [QUOTE=”BluePingu, post: 7404677, member: 16783″]
    Fair play for that article, and not too “heavy” at all. We are truly in a post truth age. Living here in Liverpool, we’ve seen similar (re)writings of narrative work both ways over the years, not just in football, but about the city overall.

    But things really have reached a new level. Everton, like a lot of “unfavoured” teams (and especially sharing a city with that lot) are always going to be written into, or out of narratives in a way that suits the elite. The Dominic Cummings-types who control PR in big business (and top 6 PL football is unbelieveably big business, make no mistake) know exactly what they’re doing. Say the lie, and say it loud, and that is what people will remember, and that is what will sell. The truth, or even a balanced take on events, will never be as well publicised, nor as well remembered.

    The club has to take some responsibility for this, but that might mean starting to play these bastards at their own game. That might seem a shame for a club that wants to be seen as honourable, but when it’s only fans getting vocally angry about these things and the club stays silent, it’s too easy for establishment fans/media to ignore it, or trot out the usual “bitter”/ “small time” lines. I’d love to see Everton FC engage in some Stalinist Son-esque PR revisionism and see the reaction.

    Winning more games, that might help things too.
    [/QUOTE]

    People no longer want to know the truth, they only want to have their opinions validated. People make up their minds very quickly today based on the flimsiest of reasons, they then want someone to tell them something which proves they were right. It doesn’t matter if what they are being told nonsense it is enough that it reinforces their strongly held belief.

  2. Fair play for that article, and not too “heavy” at all. We are truly in a post truth age. Living here in Liverpool, we’ve seen similar (re)writings of narrative work both ways over the years, not just in football, but about the city overall.

    But things really have reached a new level. Everton, like a lot of “unfavoured” teams (and especially sharing a city with that lot) are always going to be written into, or out of narratives in a way that suits the elite. The Dominic Cummings-types who control PR in big business (and top 6 PL football is unbelieveably big business, make no mistake) know exactly what they’re doing. Say the lie, and say it loud, and that is what people will remember, and that is what will sell. The truth, or even a balanced take on events, will never be as well publicised, nor as well remembered.

    The club has to take some responsibility for this, but that might mean starting to play these bastards at their own game. That might seem a shame for a club that wants to be seen as honourable, but when it’s only fans getting vocally angry about these things and the club stays silent, it’s too easy for establishment fans/media to ignore it, or trot out the usual “bitter”/ “small time” lines. I’d love to see Everton FC engage in some Stalinist Son-esque PR revisionism and see the reaction.

    Winning more games, that might help things too.

  3. “Everton’s apparent indifference to what was going on.”

    This was how I’ve felt since the Tottenham game. It just further highlighted the lack of interest in bringing attention to the ridiculous penalty given to Brighton the week before – amongst other things.

    I heard fellow fan’s describe the club as ‘rudderless’ a few months ago. That’s how I feel about senior management at the club.

  4. [QUOTE=”Jim Keoghan, post: 7402515, member: 46644″]
    [URL=’https://www.grandoldteam.com/2019/11/10/tellin-stories/’]Continue reading…[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]

    Good article there mate.

    There was no counter-narrative from Everton and Spurs had a free pitch to frame theirs. I found their attitude to the whole episode entirely cynical and distasteful. As if once the incident happened, the entire club (Spurs) operated in unison from a prepared script and process, in how to deal with such unfortunate events.

    I don’t think we should descend into a tit-for-tat offensive with whatever club and player happens to be on the better end of whatever decision effects us, but Silva should be using every opportunity to highlight objectively awful decisions given against us with the aim of pressurising referees ahead of our forthcoming games.

    It might take pressure off the players and referees and officials being human (well, slightly) it might swing a call in our favour soon enough.
    You have to say if this was someone like Ferguson or Mourinho, these bad decisions would be replayed to death by a compliant media. We do not have that going for us but we do have to bang our fists on the table a lot more.

  5. [QUOTE=”chrismpw, post: 7403634, member: 9937″]
    I’d rather be this kind of too soft to be honest. I’d rather just switch off to modern football (as I pretty much have done) than compromise my decency and integrity by plummeting to the depths of anti-sporting behaviour seen in the modern game like this.

    Despite what the rs thin, you don’t win by cheating – you don’t truly win.
    [/QUOTE]
    I agree. Richarlison is letting the side down though. I’ve never seen such diving about since Nureyev played the Palladium.

  6. [USER=46644]@Jim Keoghan[/USER] – excellent article mate, said similarly myself when I questioned…

    When will Everton grow a pair?

    After the Brighton game.

    Our media communications are simply dreadful as the club don’t appear to understand the need to “control the narrative”

  7. [QUOTE=”CahillsCornerFlag, post: 7402560, member: 8956″]
    Your overarching point is a good one. We’re too bloody soft, we have been for years. I remember a certain Phil Neville trying to persuade a ref not to send an opposition player off. Our current attitude gets you absolutely nowhere in modern football, we’re seeing that right now.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’d rather be this kind of too soft to be honest. I’d rather just switch off to modern football (as I pretty much have done) than compromise my decency and integrity by plummeting to the depths of anti-sporting behaviour seen in the modern game like this.

    Despite what the rs thin, you don’t win by cheating – you don’t truly win.

  8. [QUOTE=”Benedict, post: 7403280, member: 51225″]
    So true, this post got me thinking about the last series of the X Files, the Mandela effect one, no one wants truth anymore, lies are much more fun, i can’t see how the world can carry on like this.
    [/QUOTE]
    Say a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth; a lie goes halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on. Look at the “government” as an example……it works doesn’t it? The club needs to get its act together and respond to these incidents, not just sit there and say nothing. The silence is deafening.

  9. It’s about time this club got up off its knees and started putting itself around again. As was said, we roll over again and again while the RS and c literally get away with murder. I’m fed up being the nice guy, I want the club to start kicking arse, because being nice does sod all these days……

  10. All sounds a tad bitter to me.
    Did Son get an attack of Red Mist ? Yes.
    Was his tackle deserving of a Red Card ? No.
    Were the consequences horrendous? Yes
    Were they intended? Not for a second and surely even wearing our blue tinted specs none of us really think Son deserved a Red do we ?

    Have we been done over by VAR ? Yes
    Should we cry about it as a club ? No that is for us supporters to do. We are not the only ones to have received rough justice from this farce.

    And if you saw Silva on MOTD last night he defended Richarlison pointing out that he has never been booked for diving .

    So we as fans can moan about all the injustices that we suffer and we undoubtedly have this season but if the club went down that route it would show a lack of class and a Balotelli why always me attitude.
    I don’t agree with the article at all.

  11. [QUOTE=”Jim Keoghan, post: 7402515, member: 46644″]
    [URL=’https://www.grandoldteam.com/2019/11/10/tellin-stories/’]Continue reading…[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]
    So true, this post got me thinking about the last series of the X Files, the Mandela effect one, no one wants truth anymore, lies are much more fun, i can’t see how the world can carry on like this.

  12. [QUOTE=”Jim Keoghan, post: 7402515, member: 46644″]
    [URL=’https://www.grandoldteam.com/2019/11/10/tellin-stories/’]Continue reading…[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]

    Exactly my thoughts, Jim. Between Son’s tears and his antics in the Champions League game mid-week, he really has played a blinder in the modern art of the perpetrator generating empathy as the perceived “victim”.

    Though, I think Everton were put in a difficult position – if we had shouted from the rooftops that Son quite rightly wanted to have a crack at Gomes, the media no doubt would have been quick to portray us as petty and directing social media anger towards poor ole Heung-Min.

  13. Can’t believe what we did to Son. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We should apologise to Tottenham.

  14. Your overarching point is a good one. We’re too bloody soft, we have been for years. I remember a certain Phil Neville trying to persuade a ref not to send an opposition player off. Our current attitude gets you absolutely nowhere in modern football, we’re seeing that right now.

  15. Been saying this for a while.

    We need to be snide savvy on and off the pitch because everyone connected to football, leagues, teams, media, they all walk over us every single time and it’s no surprise our players have a fragile mentality.

  16. [QUOTE=”Jim Keoghan, post: 7402515, member: 46644″]
    [URL=’https://www.grandoldteam.com/2019/11/10/tellin-stories/’]Continue reading…[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]
    :oops::oops::oops:

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