Date: 14th June 2008 at 10:48am
Written by:

As I was walking back to the buses from Celtic Park the week after Queen of the South, something inspired me to write this article. There was us Aberdeen fans, all 150 or so of us, being seperated by a line of police horses to the Celtic fans. People were shouting things across the line of horses, things I probably can’t mention on here. As things were getting a bit tense, a woman, the only woman, on our bus, sort of sarcastically shouted ‘it’s only a game!’. She was right. How can 22 men chasing a spherical object with the aim of making it cross a certain point of line cause such hatred?

Last night, I was watching an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry was doing that usual pre-episode stand up and he was talking about the same thing. One minute a player can be your hero. The next minute he’s wearing different colours and all of a sudden he’s Satan. A traitor. He’s unwelcome in your city anymore. A prime example of this is Kenny Miller’s return to Rangers which is happening as I type. The Rangers supporters are disgusted, planning protests, sending letter bombs to David Murray’s post box (well…). Why? Because he once played for Rangers’ rivals Celtic. He could become the first Old Firm player to be hated by both sets of fans.

The season has just finished. If you are one of us, just now you will be currently renewing your season tickets, your subscription to your club’s online 2 minutes of highlights service, pre-ordering the 7 new kits just released for the new season or booking flights for your team’s pre-season trip to the Bermuda Triangle. But what most of us don’t realise or care is, nobody cares about our loyalty. As we applaud our team off the pitch after a brave defeat to the season’s relegation candidates, what do you think’s really going through their mind? As they give their radio talk show interviews post-match and give the usual ‘it’s the fans that suffer most’ rubbish, do you seriously believe them? No, what they actually mean is, what the hell are you doing? Why are you travelling the length and breadth of the country, spending thousands of pounds over the course of the season to do so, to watch us overpaid, over-rated, uneducated men?

In this week’s Evening Express, Charlie Allan will undoubtedly be giving it the usual ‘oh we’ve only sold x number of season tickets while everyone else has sold 3x’. The question Charlie, shouldn’t be why aren’t people buying them, it should be why are they? Why should we dish out hundreds of pounds to sit in a soulless, freezing football ground with no atmosphere as a way to spend 38/52 Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Wednesday/Thursday’s of the year?

And on that note, mid-week football. Most will be aware that since Setanta and the like have joined the football industry, tens of games a season are being moved to a 7:45 kick off on a Monday or whatever…why? A family member tells me they took the idea from American sports and what they didn’t understand is that, in America, there is no away support. There is nothing else on on Mondays. And that in America, everything’s perfect. There is huge car parks and the like, unlike in Scotland where you end up parking your car on a double yellow line with your gran’s disabled badge on the window, 4 miles from the stadium.

Us Brits always look at Spanish/Italian/German football and think, why couldn’t we have it that way? Well, it’s because we let it be this way. In Europe, the fans don’t listen to the club, the club listens to the fans. For example, if the fans want to stand, the fans will stand, because if they aren’t allowed to, they just won’t go to games. Compare that to Britain, we just accept it, period. Peer pressure is part of it. If you’re in a pub before the game and say to your mates ‘I’m not going because I don’t agree with it’, you’ll immediately be labelled ‘not a true fan’, because you aren’t being loyal. Being loyal to what? See paragraph 3. In Britain, we have some sort of psychological disorder that makes us feel it is our civil duty to go to games.

Basically, football in Britain stinks, and it doesn’t look like improving any time soon. In fact, it only looks like it’s getting worse. I tell you, in a few years time when we’re paying 40 quid for a 3rd round cup tie away to a 2nd division team, we will eventually crack. There will be a mass protest. British football fans will forget their loyalties and hatred for a while and unite for the good of the game, instead of their club. And then, when our clubs are creeping into the category of ‘endangered species’, they will listen to us. We will get what we want. Terracing, alcohol in grounds, non-idiot stewards, no bans on songs, cheap ticket prices, competitive leagues, and the list goes on.

I bet you’re expecting me to say ‘ah, we can dream’. But no, that’s the stinking attitude most of us have. We have to turn this into a reality.