Thanks to the miracle of modern paranoia, Owen Hargreaves' jittery performance in the BT Sport holding role during the free-to-air Champions League Final (Sunday 23rd August) is now explained.
Hargreaves, summarising after his former club Bayern Munich had beaten Paris St Germain 1-0 in Lisbon to claim European football's elite vanity prize, repeatedly repeated himself in trying to explain Bayern's philosophy, reviving memories of all of his England displays, apart from against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup.
Against a backdrop of Thomas Muller gooning about and Neymar being slobbered on the head, Hargreaves stuttered "It's not just about winning" three times in four sentences, prompting host Gary Lineker to give Rio Ferdinand the secret signal to dig out another beer-based anecdote from Moscow 2008. Hargreaves' impersonation of a five year old just starting to delve into word-forming (with the millions watching playing the role of patient parent careful not to destroy confidence) was in stark contrast to his engaging interview in August's edition of Four Four Two magazine: so why the difference between the written and oral experiences?
Well, the answer must surely come from BT's rival fan-killing channel, Sky Sports. Three days after the Champions' League Final, Sky announced three high-profile redundancies, terminating with immediate effect the contracts of Matthew Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas from Sky Soccer Saturday, the programme where people watch other people watching football. Initially it seemed that the former ex pros were the victims of the kind of routine clear-out or refreshing of staff that has been happening for a number of decades in the television industry. However, leaked hunches that spilled out almost the second the dismissals were made public, declared that - yet again - the relentless, unstoppable march of the ethnic minorities had come over here to take our jobs. To compound the misery of Those In The Know (TitK) it wasn't just Manchester-born laughing man Micah Richards who was set to swing into Thompson's grave while it was still warm, but - and look away now if you don't want to face reality - another suspect mentioned was Londoner Alex Scott...a WOMAN!
So insistent were TitK on the matter, that such an invasion was likely to have been on their radar for some time, and in hindsight they must have been terrified on Champions' League night that the stuttering Hargreaves would be replaced by a black person at any minute. Indeed, if not in fact, Scott may have been standing just out of studio sight, next to a producer, ready to go on if Hargreaves didn't pick up. Although this blog post hasn't been published yet, I'm being told that a hook, based on an idea from family friendly seventies' show The Comedians, is permanently swinging above all white-skinned pundits as a threat to their continuation on all football programmes. This hook or, as Titk have speculated, spear - has been in place ever since Black Lives Matter has gone too far the other way now. Hargreaves was clearly unnerved by the whole episode, while his relaxed former Manchester United club-mate Ferdinand, crucially of mixed race, evidently outperformed him.
Like in Germany in 2006, Hargreaves clung on to preserve his dignity, but TitK say that hooks or spears, metaphorical or physical, are just the tip of the iceberg. Said Titk spokesman Neal Derthan, "The writing is on the wall for our football as we know it. Trusted establishments like Sky and BT will be forced out and replaced by BLM Sports - a whole corporation run by blacks, employing just blacks, with only cleaning positions available for whites. What kind of world would that be to live in? Unimaginable isn't it, but I tell ya, it's coming."
Titk have yet to make any firm plans for protests but have identified a double decker bus to help drive the campaign.