In many ways, Piers Morgan is the perfect modern day celebrity football fan. He is a man, so paranoid of his own flair for corruption coming back to haunt him, that he blurts out every irrational thought he has on Twitter, just so no one else can on his behalf.
Morgan presumably grew up wanting to be famous, although when he realised he had no discernible talent, he became bitter, and took to ruining the lives of those who had. But let’s keep this light, we are talking about football after all.
Our national sport has a massive global reach, with a greater following than any political party or movement. The TV audience for the Premier League was 4.7bn in the 2010/11 season, a figure that has almost definitely increased since then.
And Morgan is aware of this, much to the frustration of Arsenal fans around the world. The former CNN presenter considers himself to be a Gunners supporter. Like it or not Piers Morgan is an influence in modern day football.
His opinion, most of the time, concerns Arsenal’s failure to win a Premier League title since 2004, something of which most Arsenal supporters are frustrated about. However, Morgan continues to publicly blame manager Arsene Wenger, a man, who probably reinvigorated Morgan’s interest in the club in the first place.
Morgan has a history for manipulating football in the media, to reach a wider audience. When editor of the Daily Mirror, Morgan was responsible for the infamous headline, “Achtung Surrender! For You Fritz Ze Euro Championship Is Over”, prior to England’s EURO 1996 semi-final with Germany. A typically tasteless remark from Piers, which did little more than motivate a German victory.
His inadvertent derailment of the England national team continued in 2002, when he engulfed the then England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, in a storm of controversy after the Mirror editor broke news of the Swede’s adulterous behaviour, by virtue of the Daily Mirror’s talent for hacking communication devices. The result was another England World Cup campaign, marred by events off the pitch.
However, this was a long time ago and football is a fickle business. Morgan’s influence in football has been more of a nuisance than a hindrance in recent years. ‘Chubby’, as Michael Owen unwittingly calls him, is an armchair fan. Therefore football doesn’t exist to him beyond the clutches of his iPhone and his beloved Twitter feed.
Arsenal fans have my sympathy, they didn’t adopt Morgan; he was forced upon them without their permission like a bad summer signing. However, their association with Morgan, which should be harmless, is actually detrimental to the image of Arsenal Football Club, and especially its supporters.
He has no discernible background in the game and yet Morgan has become the voice of all Arsenal supporters. This privilege allows him to embarrass himself and the club, by using social media to instigate public battles with famous sports stars, just to enhance his own celebrity.
The petulant Morgan is not defending Arsenal when standing up to the provocations of Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie, on the contrary, Morgan embarrasses Arsenal every time he opens his mouth. It’s time for Piers to remove himself from the culture of football and allow the real people of football to enjoy the people’s game once more.