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Dispatches from the communist party’s people-led review of football governance | Jonathan Liew


“Football is a private sector business and has flourished that way. Enforcing a philosophy akin to Maoist collective agriculturalism (which students of The Great Leap Forward will know culminated in the greatest famine in history) will not make the English game fairer, it will kill the competition which is its very lifeblood.”

Angus Kinnear, Leeds United chief executive, on the government’s fan-led review of football governance.

MINUTES OF THE 9TH NATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY, APRIL 1964, BEIJING (translation)

Chairman Mao Zedong Comrades, allow me to say a few words. I address you at a moment of great victory. Our skies are brightly lit. The imperialist European Super League is heading for total collapse, the capitalist roaders have been defeated and socialism is advancing to worldwide triumph. But still greater victories must yet be won. Our class enemies – the bourgeoisie, the revisionists, Florentino Pérez – remain resolute, and dream of seizing back power. Nothing less than an uninterrupted proletarian revolution is required. With this in mind I cede the floor to Comrade Tracey Crouch who will inform you of the decisions we have taken on behalf of the people. [Lively reaction in the hall.]

Comrade Crouch I fully endorse the speech given by Chairman Mao. Our country has enjoyed plentiful harvests for many years running, and with courageous leadership we may curb the selfish urges of the landlord classes and ensure that the bounty of our fields is available for all. Greater centralism is vital. It is necessary for a non-subjective committee to adjudicate on the appropriate distribution of grain and other resources: not in a vengeful or violent manner but with the ultimate security and prosperity of the people foremost in its thinking … Comrade Brady of West Ham province, you wish the floor?

Comrade Brady Heartfelt thanks, Comrade Crouch. My central point is this: it is the enterprise and genius of individual provinces that has made ours the greatest country in the world. Under the wise oversight of Comrade Moyes, whom we appointed as cadre not once but twice, production is at record levels. We must be allowed to continue our good work, unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation.

Comrade Crouch Thank you for your contribution, Comrade Brady. And allow me to offer my personal congratulations on West Ham province finally achieving full capacity at its state‑built grain silo. However, I note that your province has also been needlessly extravagant and wasteful over the years, importing Mexican and Brazilian grain at great cost to your own peasants. A modest and simple levy on such expenditure would fund investment in local agriculture, which over a long period will benefit us all. Comrade Purslow of Aston Villa province, you wish to speak.

Christian Purslow
Comrade Purslow protests against the policies in the strongest terms. Photograph: Aston Villa/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images

Comrade Purslow Comrade Crouch, I protest these policies in the strongest terms. This is right‑deviationist thinking of the highest order. Are the larger provinces simply to hand over their hard‑won grain and steel to the smaller provinces, who through their sloth and profligacy have allowed their own people to starve? Allow me to point out, too, that the premier tier of provinces already provides ample restitution to the lower classes in the form of loans and transient labour.

Comrade Crouch Comrade Purslow: when your harvest failed a few years ago, and you were consigned to the second rank of provinces under the admirable Comrade Bruce, did you not also draw from the central grain reserve, in order that your people would not suffer famine? All we ask is that a mere fraction of the grain and steel you now so impressively produce be set aside to provide for the greater wealth of the nation. Is this such an intolerable sacrifice? Did you really need to spend £30m on Leon Bailey? Has he even played for you yet?

Comrade Purslow Comrade Bailey remains an integral part of our provincial strategy.

Comrade Crouch He’s started four league games.

Comrade Purslow He’s had a tight thigh.

Comrade Crouch Comrade Purslow, please sit down. Comrade Neville, Secretary of the Central Commission for Propaganda, please advise on appropriate disciplinary action.

Comrade Neville I will never call for a fellow comrade to be purged.

Comrade Crouch So be it. Allow me to take this opportunity to restate the principles of this People-Led Report on Party Governance. Some will argue that our decisions do not go far enough. Some will argue that they leave the dominant imperialist structures in place. However, I will point out that the work of building a socialist revolution is necessarily complex and we are still in its earliest phases. I must also note that those who have spoken out most vehemently against our proposals are not the biggest provinces but those of the middle ranks, who potentially have most to gain from a reorganisation of our party structures. Do they not wish to challenge and surpass the industrial production of their brothers and sisters in London and Manchester? Have they grown fat and complacent during the years of plenty? I can but speculate. With these words, I commend the above policies to the Congress.

All Long live the great proletarian revolution! Long live the great, glorious and correct Communist Party of China! Long live our great leader Chairman Mao! Long live!

Chairman Mao All right. Let’s break for lunch.



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