Vision is Your Next Game

From ‘Climate Change for Football Fans’ by James Atkins – we explore the importance of vision when faced with climate breakdown and the Premier League. Should we strive toward Utopia? Or is the trick just to keep your eye on the next game?


We gathered again before the game against Zenit St Petersburg. It was a home leg – they were among the first Russians ever to have been to Burnley.

“We’re going to win the Europa League!” sang Joe as we cracked open some cans.

“Aren’t you celebrating a little early, my friend?” asked Igor. He’d been sitting hunched over his notebook, chewing a pencil, drinking hot tea and snuffling.

Frank arrived. “How’s your plan going, Igor?”

“I am making good progress, thank you. I have determined that the next thing we need is … a vision of the future … where we want to get to …” “A vision?” asked Joe.

“Yes,” said the Prof. “Like … Burnley winning the Premiership in 2015.” “Not that bullshit, Igor,” said Frank.

The Professor was taken aback.

“Vision won’t work,” continued Frank. “You can’t eat vision, you know. You can’t wear vision. People on the street don’t want vision. They want stuff to do.They need to know what to do now and tomorrow not in ten or 20 years.” “But, how can we plan for the future without vision?” Igor asked.


“Sorry?” Igor was puzzled.

“Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s the manager of a team down in Manchester. ‘We aren’t thinking about winning five trophies we’re just thinking about winning the next game.’ Vision is your next game.” “Is that what he said?” asked Igor.

“Something like that. He doesn’t dream about glory or records. He just focuses doggedly on the next game.”

“Interesting …” mused the Professor.

“Look at us. We’re in the shit this season. 19th place. We need a good eleven points from the last nine games to get out of the shit. We don’t need any bleeding vision. We need to win the game against Wolves on Sunday. That’s it. And then we need to beat Wigan. And then Blackburn. Game by game. And I don’t care if we win by an own-goal in the 93rd minute or are ten-nil up at half time. We just have to win the next game.

“Igor! Listen to me for once. Get your bloody nose out of your book. Vision kills. It distracts you from doing things now. Vision is for bureaucrats. For dreamers. For idle bastards who work in offices and have nowt better to do. Vision is an effing cop-out. It’s easy to create a vision. Give Kelly a pack of felt-tip pens and she’ll draw you a vision in ten minutes. If you want to save your bleeding penguins, then you need action, not vision. You need to get your arse into gear.

Frank shrugged. “You know what I mean?”

“I do. And I must say-”

“Igor. Utopia’s b*llshit. It’s dangerous, Igor. You know about history. Folk don’t like utopia. It’s been promised to them before. By bad people. Let’s just go step by step but be brisk about it.”

“Then we shall have no vision,” said Igor.

“You shouldn’t care what the future’s like. You just want to dig us out of the shite now.”“We shall always be focussed on the next game, my friend,” said the Professor. He knew when he was beaten.

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