Freedom for football

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Freedom for football

Postby lbb » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:01 pm

Didn't really know where this should go. From the final edition of Man Utd fanzine Red Issue. WARNING - contains swearing. Admin - feel free to delete if inappropriate.

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Re: Freedom for football

Postby LEATHERSTOCKING » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:53 pm

Generally, free speech in 21stC Britain doesn`t exist. The Thought Police have been lording it over us for years. Conform or else.
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Scottish » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:34 pm

While there are a few things I can find to sympathise with here, it’s obviously written from the point of view and experiences of a Man Utd fan. Most of us don’t have too many problems wading through megastores and finding our usual places denied thanks to the installation of corporate boxes.

Despite the initial disclaimer about not everything being better in the past, a lot of it comes over as “when I were a lad” stuff. And not very accurately either. Take this: “Whatever happened on the pitch or the terraces stayed there.” No it didn’t. It spilled over into the streets and the pubs and in all too many cases homes as well. Nor have fans stopped “letting rip.” Man U have often come up with original and witty chants as well as the less funny like telling their father forthrightly exactly what they think of him when he suggests they become a City fan. And I don’t see police moving in either when they’re “up to their knees in City blood.”

Role models? A – ahem – role that no one sought but in truth has always existed – it’s just that no one labelled it as such thirty or forty years ago.

Then there’s Cantona “gloriously” karate-kicking. I wonder if the writer would be so sanguine had it been a Man U fan on the receiving end of a Liverpool boot? And I don’t recall warnings about “mass copycat attacks” either though there was certainly a lot of puffed-up nonsense about life bans and so on. For me the incident was best summed up as the day when the excrement hit the fan.

The writer thinks the game is played in “pristine identikit” grounds. Well, maybe the ones he’s used to attending but up and down the country he’ll find plenty of old-fashioned “real” grounds – if he’s prepared to get his boots muddy.

The criticism of the Taylor report is risible. Taylor’s criticisms of ground conditions were spot on. Put people in pigsties and don’t be surprised if they act accordingly. It’s completely at odds with his original statement that not everything was great years ago. I for one don’t want to back to the days when dodging pish-filled beer cans was an occupational hazard of attending a football match.

As for this: “Women, children and families have been used as human shields.” Words fail me. Maybe the writer thinks women and kids should stay at home while, as he says, “let’s be honest, men – could let rip.”

It’s a Farageista lament for days gone by. A saloon bar Socrates putting all the world’s ills to rights.

I’ll take his point about pitch invasions. I’ve done my fair share myself and not just as a kid either. The problem is that a lot of pitch invasions come from (in European games) fans trying to get the other team punished or even genuinely dangerous situations. Oh, the joy of the harmless pitch invasion at the recent Serbia v Albania game and the po-faced reaction of the authorities. Others are made by individual (or) one or two idiots, either advertising something or pissed out of their skulls. Just a few years after the Hereford game he mentions (and if the BBC never show that footage again, it’d still be too soon), a lone Scottish fan invaded the pitch at Wembley. Scotland were winning 1-0 and dictating the game. This one nutter altered the whole flow of the match and we ended up losing 3-1.

There were a whole slew of pitch invasions at this time which were simply downright annoying. From those proclaiming the innocence of George Davis to geezers who thought for some reason the only tackle the fans wanted to see was the one they had just put on display (I will make an exception here for Erika Roe at Twickenham).

Then there’s the bit about megastores. Maybe at Old Trafford or the Camp Nou. Though having spent six years in Barcelona and watched many matches there, I can’t recall leaving the match with any replica kits or even a key ring. I don’t think the portakabin at Rugby Park qualifies for megastore status and I doubt if FC United of Manchester have one either. United fans set up that club angry at the Glazer takeover – not something mentioned in this article, though perhaps the writer has done so in the past. I don’t know. All I can see is that it’s obviously not important enough to mention in the fanzine’s sign-off.

Oh, and having stuck by Man U all these years, he’ll see they have twice the number of fans these days as they did back then. I’ll warrant not all of them are carrying in prawn sandwiches in their Tupperware.

Having read and re-read this article I still have no idea what “soccerism” or “ME FC” mean.

Then there’s good old “free speech.” Always something to fall back on when complaining about “political correctness” or such. The writer says it’s “an indivisible liberty that you defend for all or for none at all.” This sounds noble and high-minded. In fact it’s nonsense and dangerous nonsense at that. No one has the right to shout “fire” in a crowded cinema.

Consider the consequences of this writer’s belief. He, who in his opening paragraph, says that much of the past was “crap.” Read again what he thinks was “crap.” Pitches, pies, caged terraces and clogging defenders.

Where’s the bit about monkey chants and bananas thrown at black players? Maybe that wasn’t “crap?” The banana throwers were, to quote the writer, “unpoliced.” The racist chanters were “rude and red-blooded” fans exercising their “indivisible liberty” And it is their “unpalatable and offensive forms of expression that need defending most.”

No, they don’t. The world has moved on. Think what this means. “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack.” “The nash, the nash, the National Front.” “ Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz.” – a chant far worse IMHO than any famine song.

I’d say these were “unpalatable” and “offensive”. On no account would I say they “need defending most.” It’s bad enough as it is with Man City and Liverpool finding something to laugh about with regard to the Munich disaster or Man U having a good old sing-song about Hillsborough, without racist relics from the 1970s and 1980s finding their way back in to football grounds.

Oh, wait, he reckons it’s all a “phoney moral crusade” that there’s only a “ghost” of racism, a “spectral evil” kicked out by fans long ago.

Utter bollocks. Yes, many fans – not just “online crusaders” but their pre-internet forbears, ironically enough in fanzines did much to help reduce racism in our grounds. But a lot was down to “official” bodies too. From associations who encouraged ethnic minorities to take up the game as kids, to the Kick It Out campaign (criticism of which in this article is only thinly disguised) whose work has made it possible for black and Asian fans to feel comfortable attending a game.

Then, there’s his mention of the Hurd memo. Of course it’s impossible (and undesirable) to put a police watch on thousands of fans. And legislating to do so is a crackpot idea. Any law that can’t be enforced is a bad law. But that’s not to say that offensive behaviour must be tolerated. Let’s take that “unpalatable and offensive forms of expression that need defending most” to its logical conclusion. An unholy alliance of the BNP, PIE and ISIS all demanding the right to advocate their views without hindrance? For surely this writer’s concept of “indivisible liberty” extends beyond the perimeter of the football ground?

I think the game is given away in the final paragraph – “fighting to ensure that a corner of Planet Football remained the same.” That’s not the language of liberty, it’s a set in stone approach to all change, good or bad. In another age the writer would have been lamenting the end of the shoulder charge. Maybe he’s nostalgic for the back pass. Perhaps he wouldn’t have liked numbered shirts. Or a two-man offside rule. Or this so-called “World Cup” these foreign Johnnies were playing.

Opposition to all that would, at one time, have been “fighting to ensure that a corner of Planet Football remained the same.”

Thank goodness it hasn’t.
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Rob R » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:32 pm

Ah Erica Roe, whatever became of her?
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Snuff » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:22 am

Rob R wrote:

Ah Erica Roe, whatever became of her?


WARNING!!! - you will have to access the Daily Heil's website to read the story, but, the buxum Erika has stripped-off again, exposing her legendary 34Gs for a fund-raising calendar in support of breast cancer. Now 56, she has done this after her sister died from the disease.

Erika has certainly had a good and exciting life, at least, unlike so-many young ladies today, she has overcome her brief moment of fame/infamy and not sought to cash-in.

I always like Steve Smith's (the England scrum-half's) view of her streak. Turning to skipper Bill Beaumont, he quipped: "Hey Bill, there's a bird there wearing your arse on her chest". One of the great sporting quotes.
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Scottish » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:49 am

Snuff wrote: I always like Steve Smith's (the England scrum-half's) view of her streak. Turning to skipper Bill Beaumont, he quipped: "Hey Bill, there's a bird there wearing your arse on her chest". One of the great sporting quotes.


Did anyone ask Beaumont "What happened next?"
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Rob R » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:52 pm

That made me chuckle
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Snuff » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:48 am

Scottish wrote:

Did anyone ask Beaumont "What happened next?"


Well David: "I told Smithy to get his mind back on the game, finished my half-time talk, and we went on to beat the Aussies".

"I believe the streaker was arrested, with one policeman using his helmet to cover one of her breasts" (Ooh vicar!!)

Speaking as someone who is closer to 70 than 60: I had a look at the 2015 pictures of Erika, I would, and would like to think I still could!!
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby lbb » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:34 pm

It's been a while since I was on and the moment for reply has probably gone.

I will say that any attempt at nostalgic reflection will always involve omitting the negative aspects. I might argue, correctly, that the golden era of pop music was from the arrival of The Beatles to the end of the 1970’s. Someone would then point out this was a period that involved Number Ones from The Wurzels, Brotherhood of Man and Rolf Harris. Not everything that came afterwards was bad either.

It’s also written from the perspective of a Manchester United fan who might have, as you say, First World problems regarding millionaire footballers and superstores on site. It might be argued that Manchester United have benefited more than most from the modern Sky/Champions League era. However, I don't think this removes the right for genuine Manchester United fans to regret that which has been lost and I think it’s unfair to suggest he is nostalgic for racism or football violence.

In terms of football chants, or what can be expressed at football games, I think he does have a fair point.

Some things have been lost at the game at the highest level and I don't think there is any sense in denying that. The genie won't go back in the bottle though. And some things are better, yes. And curmudgeons complaining that things ain't wot they used to be isn't new either.

I've finished reading 'Events, Dear Boy, Events: A Political Diary of Britain 1921-2010' and did laugh at this entry from JB Priestly.

Saturday, February 18 1933

Nottingham

On the Saturday I went with two Nottingham friends to see an association football match, for it was the local 'Derby Day', Notts Forest versus Notts County....the day was hung about with a cold mist that soon melted into a drizzle; but that did not prevent the supporters of Notts Forest and Notts County, two distinct groups of partisans (though on what principle they elect themselves I cannot imagine) from filling the ground to the palings.

The huge crowd would roar like maniacs but then in the silence that followed you would hear [one woman] gently remonstrate with a player: 'Nay, Bob, you ought to let 'Erbert 'ave it.'

Nearly everything possible has been done to spoil this game: the heavy financial interests; the absurd transfer and player-selling system; the lack of any birth or residential qualifications for the players; the betting and coupon competitions; the absurd publicity given to every feature of it by the press..but the fact remains that it is not yet spoilt and it has gone out and conquered the world.
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Re: Freedom for football

Postby Scottish » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:11 pm

I don't think I was attempting to suggest the writer was racist but rather pointing out what the consequences of his statements were and his belief that the problems of racism in the game were now a "ghost" and a "spectral evil" which suggests something vanquished long ago. The whole piece reeks of "fings ain't wot they used to be" nostalgia.

I also find it very, very strange that a Man Utd fan lamenting the past can write such a long piece without the word "Glazer" appearing once.

BTW what have you got against the Wurzels?
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