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10 Jul 2018

Jack Wilshere: A Brexit parable

Jack Wilshere: A Brexit parable

In a wry look at Jack Wilshere's move to West Ham, Chris Weir notes the similarities with Britain's current political context.

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A game little bulldog

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  The Bad Boys of Bromley  

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Managing the project

(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald)

World Cup fever is sweeping the land. From Cumbria to Cornwall, England fans are sputtering at the prospect of a first international trophy in fifty years. 

Football, carried on a sea of memes and goodwill, is making its way home.

Some are dealing with the delirium better than others. 

Last week, the New Statesman became the latest media outlet to wade into the euphoria, suggesting that Gareth Southgate's side "had revealed a sophisticated understanding of the complexities of what it means to be English in an age of upheaval."

A game little bulldog

It's an attractive comparison to make even if it does stretch further than Harry Maguire jostling to head in a cross against Sweden. 

If we are looking for a true reflection of what it means to be English in the age of Brexit, though, we need look no further than Jack Wilshere's recent transfer to West Ham.

Photo credit: Anish Morarji The former Arsenal man is a game little bulldog, batting away suggestions that he is subsisting on past glories. 

He has been discarded by the Gunners' metropolitan elite, a panel of experts foregoing his inferior skills in favour of more talented migrants.

The Bad Boys of Bromley

After 17 years, Wilshere will be shorn of his gilded support system, pinning his hopes on Davids Sullivan and Gold, the Bad Boys of Shoreditch. 

Nobody knows quite what will happen next - the Stevenage man has all the ability to swagger to blossom at the highest level but his ankles have lied to him before.

Photo credit: Egghead06Manuel Pellegrini is the Carole Cadwalladr of this story, searching for evidence of a strategy and ethos amongst all the bluster and proselytizing. 

The Chilean is a superb tactician with scrupulous attention to detail and a winning record but there is no £350 million a week to spend here; just the £22 million on Issa Diop and the cut-price arrival of goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Managing the project

David Moyes - or Moyesbot, if you will -  presided over the Olympic Stadium with grim resolve last year, before ultimately being pushed out by his floppy-haired successor.

Pellegrini is making all the right noises but the truth - as always - will be in the details. 

West Ham supporters are sick of how their club has been run with last season characterised by significant angst and protest. They've had enough of the plotting and PR stunts, and just want someone sensible to come in and do the job they've been paid for.

Jack Wilshere is no panacea but his signing could be the first step into a brave new world. After years of stagnation, his new employer might finally have the impetus it needs to thrive.

Or they could be sitting here come May, ruing a gamble that failed spectacularly to pay off. Their guess is as good as yours and mine.

What do you think of Wilshere's move to West Ham? Is it a good move? Let us know by commenting below.