Anorak News | Men And Boys

Men And Boys

by | 13th, October 2003

‘DO you remember where you were when England achieved their heroic draw in Turkey?

‘I say, ref, old bean’

If you do, then the chances are you were watching the game in the manner of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who were once shown in a documentary enjoying a beer while watching the World Cup.

That’s literally “a” beer – i.e. one small glass, which they sipped nervously and then left untouched on the coffee table.

If, on the other hand, you were one of the millions of cheapskates who don’t have Sky, then you were probably craning your neck to see the match projected in ghostly colours on a pub wall.

If so, the Times offers an opportunity to enjoy once again the experience that has been obliterated from your brain by describing the scene at the Northcote pub in Clapham.

The point of the exercise is not simply to allow Times readers the frisson of vicariously rubbing shoulders with Saturday’s soccer-crazy crowd.

Instead, in a delicious twist, they have waspishly contrasted the football rabble with the clientele during England’s game in the rugger “World Cup” on Sunday afternoon.

Their findings appear to support the view that the two football codes continue to attract support from very different social milieux.

Reporter Stefanie Marsh says that the Northcote is usually populated by people called Matt, Ben, Josh, Jonny and Lawrence. But on Saturday “three quarters of the pub was called Dave”.

This wasn’t enough for one Dave though, and he complained that you see more pretend fans than real ones. “They’re all rugby fans south of the river,” he added.

And the next day, the rugger boys were out in force.

“I don’t think the new tops are homoerotic at all,” said one, although it is not revealed whether he offered this thought spontaneously – which makes quite a difference, if you think about it.

But Stefani Marsh is in no doubt that it is the football boys who are “unable to contain their anxiety at the overdeveloped musculature of both rugby fan and player”.

“They deride the high proportion of women in the crowd at rugby matches,” she continues, but concludes that they “can not conceal an uneasiness that their heroes, no matter how handsome, look puny by comparison”.

And there you were thinking it was just that rugby was a crap game watched by tosspots.’

Posted: 13th, October 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink