On Friday morning, The Guardian published a passionate opinion piece lamenting the clown craze that is currently sweeping Britain. It correctly discerned that the people marauding the nation, scaring children with their ghoulish costumes and macabre makeup, are basically a smattering of very sad humans™ who are both starved of attention and embarrassingly susceptible to American marketing. We're paraphrasing the article there, of course, but we think that sums it up quite nicely. What this has to do with football, we are about to make abundantly if tenuously clear.
We should add that, although the article was articulate and meticulously argued, it was quite difficult to take seriously on account of its author being a clown named 'Bibbledy Bob'. Another 'Bob' who faces a fight to be taken seriously is Bob Bradley, the new manager of Swansea City. Now if that isn't the best journalistic segue you've ever read, you are most likely the sort of person who dresses up like a clown to scare strangers' children; someone who understands neither humour nor decency, an undesirable in the eyes of society. Back to Bob Bradley, though. He makes his bow this Saturday when Swansea take on Arsenal at the Emirates, having admitted in his first press conference that that he needs to earn respect as the first American manager in the Premier League.
In that sense – much like Bibbledy Bob – Bradley too has discerned correctly, in that he has realised that British people are horribly prejudiced when it comes to football on the other side of the Atlantic. While we should rightly condemn America for barraging teenagers from Kettering with so much marketing that they feel obliged to terrify their elderly neighbours while dressed up as Stephen King's IT, we cannot condemn the USA for its football coaches, or not yet, at least. While we, the British people, might feel a jingoistic sense of superiority when it comes to 'soccer' and 'penalty kicks' and 'the LA Galaxy', we would be remiss not to give Bob Bradley a fair chance to prove himself in English football. His nationality cannot be held against him, even if one might fret over his credentials as a man who was most recently managing Ligue 2's Le Havre.
So, much like the people currently prowling our high streets and playgrounds dressed like idiots, Bob Bradley must not be treated like a real clown. While the people involved in the nation's 'killer clown' craze should doubtlessly be punished by some form of public humiliation, Bob Bradley should be shown courtesy and respect, and given the opportunity to counter prejudicial preconceptions. If he succeeds, the 'soccer' haters will be proved wrong, and Britain will be a more accepting place for it. If he fails, we can go back to our casual bigotry, which at least means we can abolish the transatlantic retail orgy which a select group of moral degenerates have taken to calling 'Halloween'.