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.