Anorak News | More Prawns?

More Prawns?

by | 11th, November 2005

‘DESPITE losing their sheen of invincibility in recent weeks, cheeky Latin heart-throb Jose Mourinho and his team of fantasy footballers continue to dominate the Premiership.

However, biting at the heels of the loadsamoney west Londoners are not the usual suspects of Arsenal, Liverpool or even Manchester United.

Instead, it’s Premiership new-boys Wigan Athletic who are giving the champions a run for their bottomless pit of money. Only six points behind with a game in hand, Paul Jewell’s upwardly mobile charges have made light of their first season in the English game’s top tier.

And while their fairytale start to the season may not last too much longer, they’ve given small clubs in the Championship and below a bag full of hope.

However, while clubs in the lower divisions will be looking at Wigan’s success story with a mixture of pride and jealousy, for a certain section of the footballing world the ‘big-time’ is something looked upon with suspicion. For, with success, come the horrors of nouveau fans, cleaner toilets and family enclosures.

Like music fans who only liked the Smiths before “they went commercial”, football’s snobbish elite hark back to the apparent good old days of rampant hooliganism, turd-like cups of half-time Bovril and pissing down a rolled up programme while standing on the terraces.

For these elitists, fans should have to pass a lengthy exam before gaining their place in a football ground at the weekend. It’s not simply a form of entertainment to be enjoyed by the public at large – it’s a private members club. It’s the sporting equivalent of a Star Trek convention. Don’t know your LDV Vans from your Intertoto and you can feck off.

It’s not that the growth in corporate boxes and billionaire owners is not worrying. The financial imbalances in the game do need to be urgently addressed.

However, have a go at the likes at Roman Abramovich if you think you’re hard enough, not the family travelling to Stamford Bridge at the weekend, resplendent in new Chelsea shirts and only partially au-fait with the intricacies of the three-man midfield system.

Indeed, if you are lucky enough to have the time and the money to actually see your heroes in the flesh, don’t sing and cheer if you don’t want to, whatever the ’real fans’ say. You’ve paid your money so do what you bloody well like. Put on your iPod and play Sudoku for the entire 90 minutes if it floats your boat. And bring a whole hamper of prawn sandwiches, too.

Bill Shankly famously said that football isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that. Well, frankly Mr Shankly, that’s a load of horse manure. Footie may well be an intrinsic part of our culture, it may well provide a welcome home for the pseudo-tribal yearnings of the working-class male, but hey, it’s a game – a game for everyone, whether or not we can recite the entire contents of the 1981-82 Rothmans yearbook.

Alan Duffy’

Posted: 11th, November 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink