Manchester City and the final day of the Premier League 2011-12 season: A musical analysis

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are perhaps in a country not as obsessed with football as we are, you’ll be well aware that after 44 long, painful years in the shadow of their arch-rivals across the street, after spending millions (billions?) of pounds and many other ups and downs, including a demoralising relegation to League One, Manchester City finally clinched the Premier League title by pipping the previous champions Manchester United on goal difference, courtesy of a 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers in which they were still losing 1-2 the 90th minute of the match. United’s 1-0 victory at Sunderland would have been enough, but City were in luck – five minutes of added time brought about by a moment of madness from QPR’s Joey Barton allowed City to finally make their tidal wave of pressure count, as goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero clinched City victory from the jaws of defeat.

Hard rock/metal and football don’t make very good bedfellows, unless you’re Olaf Mellberg, but as proven in this fourth musical analysis, there isn’t a subject I’m afraid to tackle with a soundtrack to the key parts of the event or incident in question. Football is indeed a game of two halves, and this particular musical analysis is no different – the first half will focus on City’s battle to become champions- and their eventual triumph; the second on Barton’s behaviour during, and post-match too.

Skindred – Pressure

[from Babylon, Lava/Bieler Bros., 2002)
It doesn’t take a genius to know that to win the Premier League title, or indeed simply to succeed at all in the Premier League, that you’ve got to endure the high stakes.  The pressure is there to see on the faces of the players, the managers, the fans. For this reason, ‘Pressure’ is an entirely appropriate song and one I won’t mind seeing played on a few more football shows. There’s one line in particular, however, that sticks out like a sore thumb – that being:
Annoying neighbours are banging on your door
Saying they can’t take your noise no more
How apt based on Sir Alex Ferguson’s now infamous comment following United’s last gasp 4-3 victory over City in September 2009, when he said: And Ferguson said: ‘Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You cannot do anything about that. They will always be noisy…’You just have to get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder‘.
Skindred – Pressure (official video)


City aren’t just the noisy neighbours any more now though; they’ve positively gatecrashed their neighbours residence at the top of the Premier League pile, and their status as the current number 1 club in Manchester. United’s rich and successful history might have something to say about that, but City indeed grew tired of being the second best club in Manchester and by winning the Premier League in the fashion they showed their resilience and perhaps sent out a signal of intent to dominate for the next five-to-ten years. We’ll see, of course.

ALEX LIVESEY/GETTY IMAGES LTD

 

Fear Factory – Cyberwaste

[from Archetype, Liquid 8, 2004]
In the 59th minute of Man City‘s match with QPR, there was some sort of altercation between Joey Barton and Carlos Tevez. In my opinion, whatever Tevez did seemed minimal, and certain didn’t warrant Barton elbowing him in an off-the-ball incident. The linesman spotted it, and the referee promptly sent Barton off. Cue anarchy as Barton proceeded to knee Aguero in the leg for no apparent reason than to dead leg him or injure him. A further melee ensued, with Barton then squaring up and possibly attempting to headbutt City defender Vincent Kompany, and as he left the pitch, exchanged words (and nothing more) with resident City bad boy Mario Balotelli. Luckily for him, QPR managed to retain their Premier League status, despite ending up relying on results elsewhere in spite of an heroic ten man effort.

City’s title triumph ought to ensured that remained an ugly footnote but it undoubtedly became a talking point for many, and Barton, who not too long ago self-exiled himself from Twitter, rejoined the social networking site airing his views and rejecting any criticism flying his way. Initially trying to excuse his actions by tweeting: ‘Still not my proudest moment but who gives a fuck, we are safe……….and that is all that matters‘, and, ‘The head was never gone at any stage, once I’d been sent off, one of our players suggested I should try to take 1 of theirs with me…‘. Personally I’m not sure how true that last comment is. There were literally seconds between the red card and the knee he inexplicably planted into Aguero’s thigh.

He then went ahead and went toe to toe with Blackburn and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker on the service with more pearls of wisdom. When Lineker put it to him suggesting only Barton would still consider himself ‘misunderstood’, Barton retorted: ‘do you wanna go there publicly “Mr Squeaky Clean” ? Think u should have a look in that vast closet of skeletons before u respond‘…’now back under your stone you odious little toad
And then at Shearer’s criticism, after acknowledging Shearer’s playing career:
But I have a better hair(which is not hard), wear well better shirts on TV and have a personality(something u lack)‘.
Unfortunately Joey, that personality appears to be that of a bonehead who can’t accept even the tiniest bit of criticism that comes his way. Well Joey, here’s one more bit of negativity to chew on: I have better hair. I have well better grammar.
Seriously though, the man has shown his true colours here. I can’t deny that Barton is a decent player, and on his day is extremely difficult to play against. But he’s always one incident from the tripswitch. And it seems the justified criticism that came his way on Twitter was nothing but trigger after trigger, which Barton could only respond to with all the finesse of a glorified troll.
Fear Factory – Cyberwaste (official video)

Granted, Fear Factory’s ‘Cyberwaste’ is actually a song more aimed as a barb at internet trolls who critique negatively from the safe haven that is their bedroom, and indeed those who purportedly spread lies about Fear Factory and Burton C. Bell. But certain lyrics within the song represent how one might feel about Barton’s Twitter image and the man. For instance:
‘Speak your worthless point of view
A cog in the machine
Your damn words are straight up lies
Continue to deceive’
I’m not saying Barton is a barefaced liar, because there’s nothing to dispute his interest in artistic culture, or The Smiths and whatever else. Just that this image seems a fallacy now in light of his surly online attitude. Joey Barton might wish to paint himself as a changed man, an intellectual among his peers who are often portrayed as not the brightest on occasion. What unfolded on the pitch and then off the pitch on Sunday 13th May pretty much ruined whatever the mainstream media had bought into about this man.
And I know, I’m no different firing barbs at Barton from behind a monitor. But it’s a commentary at the end of the day, from a rock and metal journalist lampooning a national mainstream story. It’s just a shame that Barton seems to be obsessed with getting people’s attention. We ought to learn to turn a blind eye, at least until he’s actually willing to maturely back up his criticisms and his actions. Because as the song goes, Mr. Barton, ‘Nothing you say matters to us‘.
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