Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Football-Writing Psyche as Personified by Brian Clough (Id) and Don Revie (Super-ego)

Michael Sheen as Brian Clough as my Id

Although it would seem—oh okay—although it
is self-indulgent to write about writing about football, in my defense I will say that a) most of my readers also write about the sport so I'm sure they might identify with some of the themes here and b) it's my birthday, so I can be as goddamn self-indulgent as I like. So, imagine a 1974 studio. It's Calendar, and my Id, who looks a lot like former Leeds and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough, is sitting opposite my super-ego, the fat, whingeing and awfully boring Don Revie, all moderated by the host of Yorkshire's Calendar.

Calendar Host: Tonight, Richard's ego was stunned to hear that his Id, one of three components of the psyche as envisioned by Sigmund Freud, has run out of funny ideas for football blog posts. Joining me in the studio is Richard's constantly drunk and maniacal Id resembling Brian Clough, and his stern, angry looking super-ego, Don Revie. We'll start with Richard's Id—Id, what is your reaction?

Clough: Call me Brian. I'm quite stunned. I'm constantly bothered by Revie over there, Richard's super-ego, who's always telling me I've got to write long and serious pieces with loads of stats and historical comparisons. I've always thought I could have done it better by doing pieces on David Beckham's tactical advice or things on the Goonies and such. But apparently that wasn't good enough to do exclusively without running out of ideas.

Calendar Host: Well, let's turn to Don for an opinion. Do you think it was intelligent to turn over the football writing to Richard's Id?

Revie: Well, now, let's not jump the gun and put words in the horses mouth here. My record at AMSL stands for itself. Are you asking me if I think Clough (I call him that because he always calls me Revie, or super-ego, or shithead, or robot) was the person to replace me after all the hard and serious work I did on important things like the history of soccer in Toronto, or problems with the CSA? I don't know. That is entirely for Richard's ego's to answer. But if you're asking me, the answer is no.

Calendar Host: Clough/Id, how do you respond?

Clough: Look, my style of writing is pretty much the same as Richard's super-ego, as it is throughout Richard's brain. Really, the whole distinction between different competing unconscious motives hasn't been borne out by modern neuroscience. I was informed when I took over from AMSL that people wanted to read funny things about football. I wanted to add to Revie's machine—a great CSA-critiquing, stat spewing, hard-researching machine, don't get me wrong—with a few irreverant pieces. That's all.

Revie: Yes, and you lost the the confidence of Richard's ego—

Clough: Wait, wait, wait...

Calendar Host: Brian, let him finish—

Revie: —and look, to be taken seriously as a football writer, you needed serious analysis. You lost confidence of Richard's ego, especially with the EPL Talk debacle.

Calendar Host: How did you feel when fifty people commented negatively over your attempt at Premier League humour? After such a short period?

Clough: Oh, I felt sick. Well, I didn't care that much to be honest, but for the sake of placating Revie, I will say I felt sick, the feeling was definitely there. If you're asking me now if I made mistakes (the Masal Bugduv/Man City piece), then yes, I'm human. Well, one component of a human psyche really. Look, I want to be like me, and I want Revie the robotic super-ego to be like him.

Calendar Host: Don, do you agree?

Revie: Look, you talked about getting more readers. My record is there over the last year. AMSL's most popular series was the Toronto soccer history had generated the most important readership in the blog's history.

Clough: And the least amusing posts.

Revie: Well, now Brian, that's not true.

Clough: It is true.

Revie: Look, why did you want to take over and write for AMSL when you thought all that history stuff and match report stuff was so boring?

Clough: Because I thought it was the best blog (well, really only blog) Richard was writing at the time, Don! I wanted to have a crack at some more irreverant, light hearted stuff. I wanted to do something you hadn't done. I want to write the blog, but I wanted to write it better. There is no other reply, because you were writing the blog!

Revie: Well, look Brian, what if we work together? What if we cooperate to cover both stern and important analysis and your pitiful fluffy and assinine attempts at humour?

Clough: Really?

Revie: Yes. Look, how about you let me write on Toronto's football history, say, twice a week, starting tomorrow to celebrate Toronto's upcoming 175th anniversary? And you can do your stupid little comedy pieces? And why not finally getting round to redesigning the blog, to make it better and less blog*spotty? And maybe allow advertizing?

Clough: Er, I suppose? Possibly? I'd need a webdesigner because I'm useless and there are few other technical prob—

Calendar Host: Good, glad that's sorted. So, starting tomorrow, look forward to AMSL's biweekly feature on Toronto's soccer history as part of the city's anniversary celebrations. Good night.

*cue sexy seventies trumpet outro music*

(Oh, and click here if you want to hear the real thing.)

Update: The Toronto soccer history restart will be delayed until Saturday night, so be sure to check in after the final La Liga fixtures are over and done with...


Matt said...

I've often thought of using a fictional dialogue between historical figures representing the different components of my Freudian psyche to help in my day to day decision making. You stole my idea Richard! I'll look forward to the bi-weekly feature...

Brian said...

Happy birthday!

Richard Whittall said...

Cloughie? Is that you!

Thanks Brian...

Brian said...

Look, I won't say I'm the best Brian in football, but I'm in the top one.