As Liverpool and Manchester United meet for the first time after a minor clash of views, the managers of both teams have made an appeal for calm, begging both sets of supporters to act responsibly during Saturday’s game. It’s the little things like this that best demonstrate how everyone paid to be involved in football is trying to kill the game.
Much as those who represent them may wish they weren’t, football supporters are people, making them subject to feelings and emotions. They are hateful, petty, vindictive, spiteful, sado-masochistic bullies, just like every other person on the planet. They are also terrifyingly tribalistic.
Most of the time, this is great for the Directors, the Chief Executives, the managers; anyone who makes money from a football club. They can sell a different home shirt every year. They can fill their corporate boxes with promises of atmosphere and Great European Nights. They can condemn kids who don’t know any better to a life of misery just because their pencil case has the wrong logo on it.
But how they turn when the other side of their pact with the Devil is revealed, when the fury and bitterness they stir up with every press release, every cheeky dig at rivals and every bitter transfer is unleashed. They hit their dog every day, and are surprised when it bites them in the hand. Enough, they say, What happened to respect, and decency? You threw any right to those out the window the first time you thought someone would pay £40 for a third choice strip with a different collar to last year’s. It doesn’t matter that you were right, you were still wrong.
They changed football from a sport to ENTERTAINMENT, then denied us the right to be entertained. They changed football from a game to a gladitorial contest, then insisted that all participants make friends and don’t shout too loudly.
Every soundbite and quote chokes on its way down.
Dalglish: For us, we want to concentrate on playing football and any other sideshow is purely that – it’s just a sideshow... Whatever the grievances , keep it to yourself, and lets get on with the game.
He’s had his say, now supporters of Patrice Evra are denied the right of reply. He dragged it from the sideshow to the spotlight with those stupid fucking t-shirts, and now wants to pretend it was never a big deal.
Even worse is Ian Ayres:
It is about a great spirit and a match between two great teams and it is certainly not hatred – there is no place for hatred in football.
Crap. Football is hatred.
Hatred of the other team, your own team, that striker who can’t score, that striker who scores too many, the other fans, your own fans, the referee who gave to many decisions to the other lot, the referee who wouldn’t give your lot any decisions and whatever idiot thought one chip stand between 5000 people was a suitable ratio. Football without hatred is football from the 1870’s; shit.
Football isn’t a sport so much as a release, a vent for the bile that builds up through the course of a normal life. Where else can you go and call someone a twat and have thousands of people agree with you?
Banning football supporters from hatred would send both the murder and suicide rates spiralling out of control. It would make games like this intensely boring for those of us who don’t particularly like either side (the likely lineups for Saturday’s match have made me vomit).
I wouldn’t have anything to write about.