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Inside Chelsea's Propaganda Machine
Pitch Invasion, June 17th, 2008 1:45PM

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Wouldn't it be your dream job to work at the soccer club you've always supported? Terry Daley's family and friends presumed that he was delighted to be working on the official game day magazine at Chelsea FC (British teams produce a unique "match programne" for every home game), but he ended up feeling less like a journalist and more like a PR and Propaganda Executive. MLS media relations employees, please look away.
 
"The money was terrible [and] the people above me had no idea what the fans wanted from their publication," writes Daley in a highly entertaining diatribe that won't surprise anyone who's been watching the ultra-commercialization of the English game this past decade. "Anything at all that could be considered criticism of the club or players was scrubbed out. Even in match reports players were 'unlucky' to miss from two yards out, and almost any mention of red or yellow cards was strictly forbidden, let alone diving or incessant barracking of referees."
 
Unlike in previous incarnations of the magazine, no critical missives from fans were printed on the letters page, leading to "a sanitized product that patronizes its audience and discourages discourse with supporters." But the club didn't care if the fans liked it or not, as long as the magazine could promote the Chelsea Megastore and the products of official sponsors. "Reading it gives you an idea of how much the club has changed in the last five years -- instead of talking to its existing supporters directly they're trying to lure new fans with big pictures of star players as part of their global strategy. It's a disconcerting but all too predictable shift in priorities."

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