Enemies and friends

In Omar Bogle’s interview on BluesTV, he talked about scoring a goal against Jack Butland, a former Academy team mate of his. He said he talked with Jack after the game, but he didn’t talk about his goal. It sounded as though he had the ability that professional football players need to have, to regard opposing players as enemies during a game and as friends at other times.

I believe that fans also need to be able to do this. During games we want to see our team play well and be lucky; we want the opposition to play terribly and have the worst bad luck imaginable. But, at other times, we can sympathise with fans of other teams. When Frank Knight, a Blackpool fan, agreed to pay £20,000 to the Oyston family, owners of Blackpool, so that they wouldn’t take him to court for his rant against them on Facebook, fans from many other clubs made contributions to pay that, an example of the football community at its generous best.

I’m reading a book that discusses this: What we think about when we think about Football, by Simon Critchley, a Professor of Philosophy who supports Liverpool.  He says that “there is an inherent rationality in football that permits both passionately held commitment to one’s team at the same time as being able to tolerate, understand and indeed encourage others’ deeply felt support for their teams.”  It is not easy reading, but it is interesting and has some great photos.

Critchley wrote that “a game can be a 90-minute anxiety dream”.  Wednesday’s game felt like 87 anxious minutes until Bogle scored his brilliant goal and I stopped worrying that Stoke might equalise. But I will remember it as a brilliant game, with two great goals, a large crowd and an atmosphere that reminded me of how it felt when I stood with my dad on the Railway end about 65 years ago.

Hope I’ll also have good memories of today’s game.

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5 thoughts on “Enemies and friends

  1. Ijaz

    Players and supporters always see things differently. To the players it’s a job. Yes they’ll reciprocate the crowd and many carry on with a ‘soft spot’ for a club they have played for no doubt because of good memories there. To the fans a player who is worshipped one week may be playing for their bitter rivals the next and be seen as the ultimate ‘Judas’. Players will come and go though but as long as he is wearing your team colours you support him. Butland however is a bad example. He is always given a good reception as he didn’t ask to leave. We want to score past him but no one really sees Butland as the enemy.

    1. Puddleglum Post author

      The point I was trying to make is that we shouldn’t see fans of other teams as our enemies. Some of my friends are Villa fans.

  2. Robert j Clancy

    About 65 years ago in the railway end ? How old are you buddy?
    Was you around when we served fleur de lys pies?

    1. Puddleglum Post author

      I’m 76. My dad never bought any food at the ground so I have no idea what they served.

  3. mick orton

    Absolutely. Last weekend I texted a friend who supports Villa and commented on the fact that Blues are above Villa at the half way point of the season. I told them that I will give them a cabbage for Christmas. Last night I saw them – they told me to f*** off and then they bought me a drink. That is how it should be between rivals. Loads of banter, even some hostility during the match, but then a slap on the back and a shared drink after. Another friend who is a Wolves fan received a constant stream of barbed texts from me last season. This season I have been texting my congratulations on their promising start to their season in the Premiership. Of course, next season might be different …… !

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