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As I watch the news and see the horrific tragedies happening around the World I can’t help but think how pathetic many football fans are. I would like to say it is the minority but it seems that this minority is either getting larger or just getting more media visibility, I am unsure which to be honest. Unfortunately I have, at times also mirrored some of the behavior which would put me in the category of treating football as a matter of life and death, which it certainly is not.
It has been a year since I last blogged and during that time I have watched the sport of football increasingly fool itself into believing it is the most important thing in the world. The truth is it is should be far lower on people’s priorities and not considered life or death for those who call themselves fans.
The saddest thing that I have heard in all my time as a football fan is the news of a Dutch linesman who was beaten to death by three players at a youth football match. Those players truly considered it a matter of life and death, they believed that the game was so important that they were willing to not only harm but kill another human being. What makes this even more tragic is that the linesman’s son was playing in the game. He watched his father killed on the field. It is remarkable how little coverage this has got, dwarfed by the fact that Messi has scored 86 goals in the past year, or the fact that AVB says Bale isn’t a diver. This guy was killed on the pitch and it is part of a bigger problem.
Whilst I am no fan of Rugby as a sport, you would never hear of anything like this happening. The players call the officials sir and if they even argue they receive a penalty and further chat and they are sent off. I did a quick google search for both “referee attacked in football match” and “referee attacked in rugby match” as you can imagine there was a big difference in the number of hits each search got.
I look around a football ground and see the vile insults being spewed and you would think that the opposition players were made up of murderers and rapists. If it isn’t distasteful chants about a tragedy the opposition suffered it is a personal attack on a player or manager. The recent hatred towards Rafa Benitez shocked me. Not the fact that there were those who disagreed with the appointment but that they felt it necessary to turn on someone because at one point in time he made fun of you, and also was the manager of another team. Imagine if you changed companies and as soon as you walked in the office everyone started shouting abuse at you… it is a preposterous notion but essentially that is what is happening.
Presumably the fan who attempted to confront Rio Ferdinand, once he had already been coined, had plans to attack him in some way, although the chances of him having some sort of plan are slim. I have heard people say that Rio shouldn’t have celebrated in front of the City fans, why not? Do fans have so little self control that the sight of someone else happy drive them to violence. I think fans need to have a long hard look at themselves and weigh up how important this game really is and to what lengths their disgusting behavior should be tolerated all in the name of club loyalty. Vincent Kompany said he was against netting because fans should not be caged like animals, well maybe if fans stopped behaving like them he would have a valid argument.