beautiful game?

Posted: April 12, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

Half Time Fags

1950, half time, cup o’ tea and a ciggie in the changing room.  Top versus bottom, town versus town, butcher versus greengrocer.  Soccer.  The Beautiful Game.  Played in mud with a cannonball against a backdrop of flat caps, polite applause and the odour of a thousand untipped senior service.  The Glory Days.  Players were poorly paid, belonged to the club and travelled (according to myth) to and from matches on public transport with their boots in one hand and tuppence half’penny of cod and chips in the other.  Today soccer has been gentrified, glamourised and taken away from the flat capped working man.  It is a vast financial empire that takes many different forms; from the team, to the replica strip, to the corporate boxes and TV channels.  Certainly no cup o’ tea and a sly fag at half time.  More likely half time brings massages, energy drinks and almost zen like mantra of tactics from a manager steeped in management speak and media spin.  Grounds are full of prêt-a-manger munching middle management types who would not be seen dead with a gasper or indeed a flat cap (unless Boden had recently done a nice ironic flat cap range).  Crowds are muted, now sat in enormous arenas that seek to empty the wallets that can afford it.  Parking, tickets, programme, pie and souvenirs.  Drop through the leagues and you may just see the past.  Small town clubs owned by local boy made good; a labour of love with little thanks.  Crowds standing, excited and part of something bigger than themselves; give it up for the lads.  Bet there’s still no cuppa and fag at half time though.

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Comments
  1. Torbjørn O.K. says:

    Interesting read this, Tim. For a Norwegian it’s fantastic to visit the Premier League-stadiums of today with splendid facilities and an atmosphere that, of course, is non-existent in Norway. But to pay for a season ticket at some of the major clubs, you’ll either have to be quite well off or extremely dedicated. And even then you may not be able to afford it anyway. I don’t think the clubs will react as long as they get the gates – even if the stands are filled up with less enthusiastic fans than those who followed the clubs in f.ex. the eighties (although we can do without the hooliganism of that era…). The clubs get the money anyway, so what if the atmosphere goes out the window? I can absolutely understand those who go down the divisions to find the real atmosphere of yesteryear.

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