How much would a curious mind pay for a simple question? What is the value of wonder? For one in the pursuit of knowledge a simple six word question could be worth more than silver, more than gold, more than a child’s whisper or a shy maid’s kiss.
Against Bolton on 30 September, during a very uneven match from referee Jeremy Simpson, Aston Villa fans, viewers, players and coaches were left quite unhappy with the official and registered more than a few complaints. After the frantic final minute when Neil Taylor received his straight red—and subsequent match ban—and Chris Samba fell into saving the Claret and Blue at the death, Steve Bruce erupted at Simpson before exiting the pitch.
The squad will feel the repercussions of Simpsons officiating through the next stretch of tough matches without their starting (only?) left back, but, for his unambiguous comment about Simpson, Chairman Dr Tony Xia was fined £4,000 by the Football Association for his question about the referee.
In a since deleted tweet, the Birmingham Mail quotes Dr Tony as chirping: "Is the ref a AV hater? ️Not our day but 3 points only matters. Need keep going after the break. Consistency is the key this season. #UTV."
In true rhetorical fashion, Dr Tony razes the foundation of football, Newtonian physics and the depths of the human psyche by deftly making his point through a question wherein he implies the answer. “Is the ref a AV hater?” Brilliant, Tony. The implication of the question is certain, yet, it leads us to ask ourselves: do we see the same? Have we eyes unveiled to the torturous cruel world?
After the multi-billionaire was levied his fine for asking us sheep to cast off our woolen coats that we once thought kept us warm and safe, but now know only shieled us from the truth of the cold unoccupied space and distance from those collections of matter and atomic dust that we once believed to be our loved ones, and after he revealed the Lovecraftian horror of a universe that not only lacks care for our existence, but seemingly hates and desires our destruction, a silent ding was heard in our darkness.
"Il n'ya qu'un héroïsme au monde : c'est de voir le monde tel qu'il est et de l'aimer."— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) October 12, 2017
Thanks for all Villans’ support. #UTV
As soon as you read those words you knew the hope. Some part of you, though not unable to speak French, believed and knew and reached out through that hateful darkness and held these words like a man who has ground the flesh of his fingers to the nub through sand and desert to find water and though blind from the suns scorching rays you feel the coolness of the water and cup your hands in a light and cool oasis to slake your thirst.
It’s here that we see the game that Xia has been playing all along. Our leader, our light, our Tony is translated by the Birmingham Mail:
“There is only one heroism in the world: it is to see the world as it is and to love it. Thanks for all Villans’ support. #UTV”
In this knowledge, in this nakedness before the world, we can stand with our Chairman from the heights—goose flesh dotting our skin—and see the clear bias of referee Jeremy Simpson. Whatever blood pittance demanded by the FA is the true dust. The artificial, institutional construct of currency the most damned. We can pay whatever cost is required for this truth and look back on it with hearts open, offering not only coin, but love.