IT has been labelled everything from the ultimate in opulence to inadvertent experiment in authoritarian satire. Real Madrid Island.
A proposed one-billion-dollar development in the Middle East which would include, so the La Liga leaders’ president, Florentino Perez, says, luxury hotels, the obligatory museum, amusement park, 10,000-seater stadium and state-of-the-art sporting facilities. All housed, he announced at a glitzy press conference earlier this month, on a man-made piece of land situation just off the coast of the UAE.
Something to suit every millionaires’ budget. Never mind Karim Benzema, Big Brother would be proud.
Football’s rampant commercialism and desire to squeeze every last penny out of its devotees’ pockets truly does know no bounds.
Like the majority of those who spend their weekends traversing the country following a club with less lofty ambitions, I’m not sure whether to be terrified or amused by Perez’s Orwellian vision of the future.
What I do know is that Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and others plying their trade in England’s third tier exist in an altogether more mundane world. Gristly meat pies rather than galacticos.
But no doubt someone, somewhere in the division is impressed by Los Blancos’ grand plan. So how would holidaymakers pass the time on Lower League Lagoon?
Given the fact that opportunities to live the high life are now few and far between for our region’s teams, it’s fair to say that visiting would be an FA Cup final type experience for supporters. So, naturally, just getting a ticket would be the hardest part.
Queues for check-in would snake around the airport ten and a half times, take at least a day to clear with some very deserving cases obliged to be left empty handed.
Having survived a departure lounge resembling the beach assault scene from Apocalypse Now, weary travellers would then be forced to plot a course through an army of rabid salesmen trying to sell over-priced tat handcrafted from the very best synthetic fibres before boarding trains to their accommodation.
Hopefully they’ve remembered to book a decade in advance, though. Otherwise it’s a bargain £200 a pop and standing room only. Which, admittedly, can be a bit of a bind when engineering works mean it might take five hours to reach your destination.
All inclusive, of course, is de rigueur these days. So guests could gorge themselves on endless supplies of flat beer, burgers and chicken balti pies warmed to 10,000 degrees Celsius in the reactors of Sizewell B.
Providing serving staff can be bothered to get their backsides into gear and dole-out this sumptuous nosh. Because why look after the punters when you’ve got a text message to send or Saturday night at Kayleigh’s to plan? It’s all about priorities.
Which brings me to the weather. Wherever this wonderful resort is built, the owners must be able to guarantee long gloomy spells punctuated by brief periods of bright sunshine inevitably followed by monsoon showers.