Mrs Thatcher and football

Mrs Thatcher has a family and friends who will be feeling sorrow at her passing. So before I express my opinions, I would like to offer my condolences to them.

She was a skilful politician with strong convictions on what was best for Britain. Her background was relatively humble when compared to other leaders of the Conservative Party and this seemed to lead her to the belief that it was possible for anyone from any background to work his/her way to the top.  She didn’t seem to understand that having a father who owned two shops was an incredibly privileged position in society compared to someone born into one of the poorest families in the land. I think she lacked the imagination to conceive what life was like for such a person.  She was trying to create a society where everyone who worked hard could do well and seemed genuinely puzzled by those who opposed policies that seemed so obviously right to her. She didn’t understand what motivated the miners in their strike against mine closures and, given her belief that she was working for the good of this country, it wasn’t surprising that she regarded them as the enemy within.

She wasn’t a friend of football fans either.

When I heard of her death and started to think about writing something about her and her relationship with football supporters I tried Googling ‘Mrs Thatcher football’ and found that I wasn’t the only one with that idea.  Others have written on the topic and written far better than I ever could.  So instead of stealing or recycling their thoughts I’m just going to provide some links to the articles I found most interesting, with brief summaries or quotes to give some idea of their content.

How Margaret Thatcher influenced football, published today, on WSC (When Saturday Comes)
Mrs Thatcher regarded football fans as much of a nuisance as strikers and the attempt to do something about football hooligans led to the plan for ID cards.

There is No Such Thing As “Football” by Ian King, 4/4/2013
This is not an article about Mrs Thatcher but it does mention an incident following the Heysel disaster when Football Association executives were summoned to Downing Street. Ted Croker “told Margaret Thatcher that, “We don’t want this made public, but these people are society’s problems and we don’t want your hooligans in our sport, prime minister.” He subsequently became the first secretary of the FA to not receive a knighthood upon his retirement from the position.”

Hillsborough and Battle of Orgreave: one police force, two disgraces by David Conn, 12/4/2012
South Yorkshire police, who blamed Liverpool supporters for the disaster in 1989, had made strikingly similar blunders during the miners’ strike in 1984, when 95 men were prosecuted for rioting – all were acquitted amid allegations of fabrication.”