Today is a Big Day.
After three-quarters of a century where the inventory of British racecourses has been steadily and uninterruptedly declining in numbers, today sees the formal opening of the first new racetrack since prior to World War II. Which, as we are now on to World War IV, is a pretty long time ago.
Great Leighs in North Essex is this new venue. Originally costed at £5 million ($10 million) with an opening date of 2004, Great Leighs has come in greatly overpriced at £40 million, a mere four years behind schedule. It must have been a private finance initiative (PFI) project.
So, what have we been offered in return for our patience. Well, the bookmakers have got another result-randomising all-weather track that allows 12 months per year racing. This positive news for the layers is equivalently negative for the punters. And, for the very same reasons...
"Only in Essex can this much happen in one place" claims the Great Leighs website.
"If the thrill of racing is not enough [it isn't], Great Leighs means entertainment... You will not need to leave Essex to enjoy Euro 2008". What are they on about?
"The two storey grandstand will be the place to be in Essex" - What? THE place? Really?
Already behind schedule in a Brownian economy, today's Big Day might have to be cancelled too. A service road for official vehicles, including ambulances, must be completed by 09:00 BST or the British Horseracing Authority will stop the meeting. The Real opening meetings have already taken place in April as the bookies couldn't wait to get their grubby hands on the cash. No spectators were allowed to attend the Real opening as, if anybody had suffered a heart attack after losing a big bet in a fixed race, the ambulance would not be able to rush the patient to hospital. Potentially, this is a loss of future revenues - death must be averted.
At least eating is safe in Bernard Matthews Land. "Food isn't a Gamble at Great Leighs" boasts the racecourse promo. This reveals too much of the advertisers psychology - we were not actually thinking that food would be a "Gamble" (their capital letter, not mine) but thank you for drawing our attention to it. Poultry eaters should check where their decaying flesh is sourced; salad eaters should check where their greens are chopped.
Its like those daytime tv ads in Britain, seeking out unfortunate proles who have suffered some accident or other - you know the sort of thing, always something semi-hilarious like a woman slipping on a wet floor or a bloke falling off a ladder. "If this has happened to you, contact our team of Real solicitors..." - like the professional advice was originally provided by a call centre, or the cleaner, or whoever...
Britain is always behind the US in innovation as innovation in Britain simply represents the copying of the most psychopathic business models recently invented in the US.
This is our Special Relationship.
Already, Great Leighs would not have been built in the Land of the Free, where the new Big Thing is Racinos. Combining the twin spectacular society corruptions of horseracing and casinos, these paradises of entertainment are the new way for the Fat to address their obesity issues via a creative strategy of asset reduction, which eventually leads to food intake reduction. Hence = taking control of their lives. This will be in the marketing blurb somewhere.
Britain does not always need to be reactive. Think proactively psychopathic, and innovation, or at least innovation as measured by the shareholder capitalist system, is the outcome. On this level, we would like to suggest Foothound - a combination of the virtually identical "sports" of football and greyhound racing, where the pitch is surrounded by the track and a race is run every time the ball goes out of play. In fact, build a Foothound stadium using the PFI, takeover an ethical brand, say, FC United of Manchester and bob's your uncle. Profits flow in from the productive mix of pseudo-sport, gambling and television.
It must be serious because it is on Sky.
It cannot be serious because it is on Sky.
In areas like gambling, where Britain does behave proactively (and then some...), the island state demonstrates a clearly definable edge in the market. Although one might struggle to find any references to such things in the mainstream media, the takeover of English football by the gambling sector is the prime structural dynamic underpinning the "sport" at the moment. We have the Pompey 9 (including Harry Redknapp, Milan Mandaric and Willie McKay), we have top notch managers with tens of millions of pounds squirrelled safely away from prying eyes, we have Portsmouth being run by an arms dealer with a French arrest warrant on his head, we have Chelsea purchasing semi-glory via kickbacks, we have the England manager speaking in English when his time might have been better spent defending himself of tax fraud allegations in Italy, we have Thaksin Shinawatra as a fit-and-proper-person, we have Alisher Usmanov who has never had anything whatsoever to do with the heroin distribution trade, we have West Ham United buying Premiership survival, we have manufactured and entirely fake finales to fictitious branded hyperrealities.
Mark Spragg, the excellently named lawyer for Harry Redknapp, said following our 'Arry's successful complaint against the police (only successful in a spectacular sense as the the response of the police was to question Redknapp again hours after the hearing): "...its very rare that people take the police on and complain about it [search without warrant] as most people don't have the guts to do it, or they think the police can do whatever they like. Obviously, more people should do. Otherwise they're behaving like a police state".
Police and Thieves... The Pompey Nine and the Tapas Seven - these marketable entities suit the comic strip realities that the media alludes to.
Meanwhile, not content with the shenanigans over the Luzhniki pitch for the Champions League Final nor the officiating of the same event, Slovakia has elbowed its way to the Reuters Breaking News site again when the Slovakian Justice Minister called its Special Anti-Corruption Unit "a fascist institution". Manned by highly paid security-vetted judges, this anti-corruption unit bears no resemblance to Quest nor to the City of London police inquiry. And, that would be in any way, whatsoever...
Ticket prices for next year's brand of fake footie are, on average, 7.2% higher in the Premiership with Portsmouth cashing in on their bribery-based success with a top notch 17.5% increase. Interestingly, Newcastle, who haven't released their season ticket prices yet due to Mike Ashley's complicated financial situation, are intending to reduce prices in some sections of the ground and are introducing "singing sections" to try and create some atmosphere. We would suggest further areas being set aside for "moaning", areas for the supportive self-harmers who do the work of the visiting team via their incessant projections onto the field of play.
Chelsea are not increasing their prices at all - extortionate remains extortionate. Money appears to be a minimal object, however, although even the richest have their limits. The amount of kickbacks necessary required to remain competitive made the Avram Grant package (and the Mourinho walkout) a very expensive collection of outgoings. New manager? We would say that it will not be Mourinho or Rijkaard. They could do worse than to choose Frank Arneson... no, they couldn't, that was a joke. There is nobody worse than Frank Arneson...
And, as I write, I am hearing that Great Leighs has passed the inspection - horseracing likes inspections as it suits both their collective psychology and the necessity to find as many fatuous jobs as possible for establishment types - which is truly marvelous. We'll be counting down the hours to the 2:30 Lookers Land Rover Handicap over 5 furlongs where we think there is likely to be a lot of Irish money around. Lord Of The Reins, Almaty Express or Silver Prelude look the likeliest to us but its all-weather, so its a lottery. It can only be a matter of time before these animals are expected to be running in glue from their own hooves.
© Football Is Fixed/Dietrological