Archive for December 14, 2008

I’ve had it with English football “fans” now. Police in London have either arrested or are looking for 16 Tottenham Hotspur supporters, who have been caught on CCTV chanting abuse at visiting Portsmouth player Sol Campbell. What’s their justification for their hatred? For those of you who aren’t big football fans, six years ago Sol Campbell dared to move from Tottenham Hotspur (or Spurs, for short) to their local rivals Arsenal causing outrage amongst Spurs fans. Since then whenever he as returned to play against Spurs, their fans have subjected him to bitter abuse, generally referring to him as Judas (a standard insult amongst football fans, however, given that Spurs have a strong Jewish support base, also a little ironic in this case).

On this occasion, they went further, directing racist and homophobic chants towards Campbell and that is why the police are involved. You might think to yourself that the perpetrators might be young punk-ass kids out to try and show how big they are but no, these are grown men in their 20s-40s who, given the price of Premier League tickets nowadays, all probably have good jobs. It is thought that one of them is a policeman!

But this isn’t an isolated incident. Whenever you turn on a football game nowadays, you see shots of supporters, their faces twisted in hate and anger, hurling abuse at players, referees, opposing teams’ fans, their own manager. Even when they celebrate a goal, some of them look like they’re taking a really bad crap. And it’s not just English supporters who behave like this. Some Italian clubs have had to play games behind closed doors due in recent years because of hooliganism and even murder. Spanish and East European fans regularly direct monkey chants at visiting black players.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people? Attending a football match is supposed to be a form of entertainment that you enjoy, yet they pay out a fortune to be constantly angry. I love my football and understand that it’s a vicarious thrill, which can be often be frustrating. But at the end of the day (to use a cliche), it is just a game and even when you lose, there’s another game just days away. It hasn’t always been like this. I have a Match Of The Day DVD which shows footage from the 1960s of home fans applauding a goal by THE OPPOSING TEAM!! In the late 1980s there was a trend of fans bringing inflatable bananas (and other inflatable toys related to their teams-e.g canaries for Norwich City, haddock for Grimsby Town) and waving them en masse when goals were scored, creating surreal scenes. Even nowadays, I have seen clips from the often-derided MLS in North America of Toronto FC fans creating scenes of great fun. They chant and drink beer like their European counterparts. When opposing teams try to take corners, hundreds of harmless streamers are thrown on the ball,  preventing them. On one occasion, when Toronto scored their first goals, the fans threw hundreds of seat cushions that had been provided by the club onto the pitch.

So come on English football fans, get over yourselves. Stop being angry and start enjoying your football. As I said earlier, it is only a game.