To that end, Osborne has hosted talks at 11 Downing Street with representatives of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. The aim being, it seems, to persuade one or other of those “franchises” to relocate from the land where people think football is a game played in helmets, face-masks and shoulder-pads that would have embarrassed a 1980s pop diva.
Never mind the silly “uniforms”, the incomprehensible and fundamentally dull nature of the game, or that this is a sport dogged by scandals involving drugs, brain injuries and domestic violence. The very fact that its clubs are known as franchises should be enough to tell you how un-British it is. I know there is nothing more British than traipsing poodle-like in America’s footsteps, but this, surely, is a step too far.
And look at it from an American viewpoint. Not that of the franchise-owners, but of the fans who keep them rich by shelling out for tickets and burgers at the ball-game. Imagine you’re an ordinary Joe from the Bronx or the Lower East Side. How would you feel if your team’s “home” games were suddenly shifted from the MetLife Stadium to a foreign city 3,500 miles away?
It’d be like hearing the Canaries were about to flit from Carrow Road to make a new nest on another continent.
Or that cricket had moved its HQ from Lord’s to Dubai. Oh, hang on…
But if Osborne really wants London to reign supreme in world sport, why pick on a game whose very name, American football, tells you it’s the possession/obsession of just one foreign land?
Why – unless his ambition really is to make Britain the 51st United State – attempt to extend the NFL here? That ‘N’ stands for ‘National’ – and it doesn’t mean this nation.
Why not instead establish London as a base for kabbadi, floorball, sumo wrestling… or Gaelic football?
It’d make as much sense. At least until you consider the other meaning of that word “capital”.