Only a Game? - Football, the Murdochs and hard boiled eggs

News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch exits his Fifth Avenue residence, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in New York. As the scandal runs its course in the U.K., Murdoch's News Corp. must confront at least two U.S.-based shareholder lawsuits, a possible Standard & Poor's credit downgrade, and the beginnings of a federal investigation. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch exits his Fifth Avenue residence, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in New York. As the scandal runs its course in the U.K., Murdoch's News Corp. must confront at least two U.S.-based shareholder lawsuits, a possible Standard & Poor's credit downgrade, and the beginnings of a federal investigation. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

There’s just no escaping Mr. Murdoch.

Whether you’re the world’s most principled sports fan or you couldn’t give a toss, if you want to watch live English football from the comfort of your living room you have to hand your hard-earned money over to the Australian who is now an American.

Rupert Murdoch and his News International empire are at the centre of a phone hacking scandal. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then it’s perhaps time to call it a day - the story has been as ubiquitous as plastic pint glasses on Shipquay Street on a Saturday night.

I, like many, was shocked when I heard that Murdoch’s prized printed asset, the News of the World, was engaged in phone-hacking. Unlike most, I didn’t even look, never mind touch, the last edition of the paper and to be perfectly honest I smiled like Jack Nicholson’s Joker when I heard that Murdoch had withdrawn his offer to become sole owner of BSkyB. But it’s a false dawn!

Those who joined in on my delight over Murdoch’s failed BSkyB bid had been totally hoodwinked; the 80 year-old, who bears a striking resemblance to Uncle Junior from The Sopranos, still owns a large part of the company and his young son James is its chairman. It was plain and simple - we were at a crossroads.

My dislike for Murdoch’s empire is right up there with my hatred for boiled eggs - both make me want to vomit. But there’s a key difference; I can lead a perfectly fulfilling life without boiled eggs but if I turn my back on a Sky subscription then I’m denying myself something I actually enjoy.

When I was at university we had a Sky subscription but that was then and this is now. I think as a point of principle I’ll stick to my guns and rely on my trusted old DAB radio to keep me up to date with what’s happening in the wonderful world of the English Premiership.

Now that I’ve squared myself with not watching Sky Sports for the rest of my life it’s time for me to try and convert 10 million paying customers to cancel their subscriptions. I think I am on the losing side.

The sense of apathy towards Murdoch and all that he stands for is worrying to say the least. Thousands of people felt compelled to air their disgust with Murdoch and News of the World but how many of them actually put their money where mouth is and stopped buying The Sunday Times, The Sun or cancelled their subscription to Sky? I’d guess very, very few.

Why? Well I suppose it’s obvious really; it’s easier to turn a blind eye than it is to do something about it. Whilst I can understand, to an extent, why people continue on with their monthly instalments I don’t agree with it.

The fact of the matter remains, Murdoch and the company he owns are responsible for what happened at News International. Allegations emerge on a daily basis and it’s got to the stage that even the most unfathomable permutations have the potential to become reality.

A dead girl’s phone was allegedly hacked by those in the employ of Murdoch; a dead girl’s mother’s phone was allegedly hacked by those in the employ of Murdoch; but still, people feel obliged to give him their money just so that they can watch live football.

The reason that such a thing as phone hacking came about was because there was public appetite for it. People wanted to read about the latest sex scandal so the public have to take responsibility and correct the error of their ways.

Watching sport is an important and enjoyable part of my life. It’s how I like to relax but why should I have to compromise on my principles to satisfy what is, after all, a luxury.

It would be ridiculous of me to say that if I ever walk into a bar and Sky television is on then I will walk out - that’s just plain mental but I think I can take the moral high-ground if I refuse to let Murdoch and his ugly band of cronies gain from my desire to watch Manchester United take on Liverpool.

Come on up and join me, the air is much clearer up here!