Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 'Beautiful' Game

I don't get football.

Well, I do get in the sense of 'win ball, put in the net', sport doesn't get simpler than that. I don't get some of the people who follow it.

This weekend, there was crowd trouble at Newcastle v Sunderland, and Villa v Birmingham. On Monday, I spoke to a chap I know as we bumped into each other walking the kids up to school. He'd been to the Villa game and confessed to feeling very intimidated as he walked from the ground and felt it prudent to change his route a few times. I was staggered when he casually said 'Well, twenty years ago, I would have just waded in, but I'm a bit old for that now.' I don't know him particularly well, but the comment left me somewhat shocked.

I am passionate about being Welsh and watching Wales play rugby, but I have never seen so much as a punch being thrown at an international match, likewise when watching Gloucester. On Thursday night, I'll be at Gloucester v Agen with Charlie and a few of his chums, and we'll all enjoy the game without the slightest fear of any trouble.

What is it about football that brings the tribalism and violence of supporters to the surface? How can you hate another person on the basis of what team they support?

Like I said, I don't get it.


Annie (Lady M) x said...

Hear hear Gumph! I love rugby too and have never, ever experienced anything worse than a bit of friendly banter from the oppositions supporters. In fact, as you already know, they don't even go to great pains to segregate supporters at rugby matches because there is no trouble.

However, I went to a football match this year (Leeds v Portsmouth) with a friend, and I would never take a kid with me after experiencing it. It was all aggressive primeval chanting and swearing, with racism and threats thrown in. Now I consider myself very liberal, but I'm totally with you - it's not a beautiful game!

Gumpher said...

Too right Annie, I love the game of rugby, and both of my boys do as well.
If they want to play football, that's fine, as long as they do some kind of sport, that will do me. Josh had a brief flirtation with the round ball, Charlie has never been that interested. If they go back to it that's fine, but I'm glad they seem to have chosen rugby.
It's given me a lot, and continues to do so as a kids coach.
I simply don't get some football fans

Brennig said...

Like you, I'm passionate about Wales and Rugby (in that order). I haven't been to a football match in decades. I wouldn't take any child to one, but would have no hesitation in taking a child to see, say, Llanelli v Pontypool (sucker for punishment)