In the early 1990s a few ambitious politicians rejected redistribution for a new capitalism based on equal opportunities and the free market. Some people became filthy rich and others turned to grassroots politics. Sound familiar?
Philosopher, semiotician and lifelong football fan Jacques Derrida once declared: Beyond the touchline, there is nothing. Derrida did not mean that football is superior to the goings-on of life beyond the pitch but perhaps that everything that happens outside the stadium politics, economics, or even art and culture is automatically reflected inside it. The football pitch is a microcosm of life itself.
Since the last decade of the 20th century, consumption of football has been growing almost exponentially throughout the world. At its forefront is the Premier League empire, which, with the help of cable and later satellite TV, spread its tentacles throughout Africa and Asia a couple of years into the new millennium. The Spanish, German and Italian leagues soon followed.
Meanwhile, as the Soviet Union breathed its last, Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) were busy formulating what they called the Third Way. Tony Blair was won over by 1993 and, after New Labours election victory a few years later, Blair hosted a bilateral meeting on the future of New Democrat-New Labour politics.
In 1999, the same year Manchester United completed the treble in a dramatic European Cup final in Barcelona and won over dedicated fans throughout the world, German chancellor Gerhard Schrder, Dutch prime minister Wim Kok, and Italian prime minister Massimo DAlema attended a meeting with Clinton and Blair to discuss these new politics, which were supposed to end what they considered to be restrictions brought about by left-wing ideology.