The charge of the Chelsea FC prawn brigade

Roy Keane’s famous tirade against the “prawn sandwich brigade” highlighted how football’s traditions and soul were threatened by the creeping corporatisation of football.

Eleven years have now passed since Keane’s spluttered seafood salvo. Since then the inexorable march of commercial interests have made his complaints seem almost trivial, rather than a serious warning about the rot setting in at the heart of the game. The subsequent years of swelling TV revenues and global viewing figures have immunised the Premier League’s members against criticism. And, it seems, irony.

I was confronted with this horrible truth on a recent tube journey. Across the platform from me was a poster for Chelsea Football Club advertising it’s corporate hospitality packages and championing the quality of their prawn sandwiches. On the face of it the adverts seem astonishing. Maybe, they’re a cheeky way of reconnecting with ordinary fans? The answer though is no.

The adverts lack hint of irony or humility. They only impression they convey is arrogance. The sense that ordinary fans concerns about the soul of the game count for nothing against Chelsea’s desire to chase the corporate entertainment shilling. Chelsea are saying: “Football isn’t about you, and we don’t care if you know it.” The Premier League, it seems, has finally eaten itself.

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2 Comments on “The charge of the Chelsea FC prawn brigade

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