Promotion, the ‘B’ word and the Vicar of Dibley

Promotion, the ‘B’ word and the Vicar of Dibley

So, we need to talk about freedom of movement. It’s fantastic, isn’t it?

On which wing will Hernandez turn up next? Which vulnerable point of the opposition defence will Buendia exploit? Is Superman going to burst from his telephone box and scythe/slalom his way through six tackles? And for Maximillian and Jamal, the chance to move 70 metres upfield with no concern that the freedom with which they have been entrusted will give their teammates any concern about their loyalty to the cause.

Whoever roams the central areas – two Germans, a Scotsman, a Bosnian, a Norwegian or a lad from Dereham – brings a unique brand of skills to the unity that has brought about this remarkable season.

Up front, a Finn whose free movement - on and off the ball – has been rewarded with the ultimate divisional accolade. And at the back, a leader - a third German - accompanied by a young Englishman whose assured freedom of movement will guarantee him a stellar career.

Oh, and shaping, cajoling and inspiring from the sidelines and on the training ground, yet another German - ‘all the Germans... so many Germans’ – whose belief in fluidity has moulded a master-project in European collaboration. Am I the only person to be faintly amused that Herr Farke shares the first three letters of his surname with a man whose insularity would mark him out as the primary national buffoon if the competition for this award were not so fierce?

However, even Mr Far-age (which could actually be a pseudonym for JR-M but, sadly, isn’t) is beaten by several lengths in this particular category not even by BoJo but by the Honourable Member for Raleigh and Wickford. The gods of irony allow us to ponder on his Frenchish surname and Italian middle name but, somehow, I don’t quite see a place for him in the current Canary midfield.

Indeed, it’s difficult to envisage an appropriate spot for him anywhere, even at Portman Road.

Cheap jibes apart – but they’re fun, aren’t they? – the sheer beauty of this season’s assembly of creative talent should alert us to the restrictions that a brainless Brexit would impose on others with particular skills in the artistic sphere.

Can I recommend a ‘Follow’ click on the Twitter account of the composer, Howard Goodall? Best known for his setting of the 23rd Psalm which bookended episodes of The Vicar of Dibley, he regularly highlights that ending free movement would severely damage opportunities for creative performers as much as it would restrict the enterprise of Polish plumbers and Dutch dentists and deny opportunities for Britons to work, travel and learn from continental Europeans.

Stifling brightness, inventiveness and enterprise in the interests of what? A vision of Britain with two feet in an imperial past that has been irrelevant for well over half century, or - in the case of the rump of Lexiteers – a refusal to recognise that we are approaching the third decade of the 21st century, rather than being stuck in a 1980s time warp. Let Far-ke be our model – not Far-age!

It should be a good summer: the Cricket World Cup, the Ashes, the People’s Vote and, by autumn, the revocation of Article 50. Enjoy... see you in the Premier League!

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