Today’s game is about corporate meetings, business men wining and dining potential clients and families that have taken in a game for a change from the theatre or Joanna concert. People need to behave as such and this includes attire, language, pronunciation, persistent standing and aggressive, rude sing songs that apparently are designed to encourage their team.
This is why it’s completely unacceptable for players and staff to swear during a game.
NO! Actually, football’s not that. Some clubs hierarchy might appear to think these punters are ‘preferable customers’, but they won’t be there during the hard times. We’re not ‘customers’. They might spend more money per trip, but nowhere near as much a proper fan throughout the course of a season or lifetime, no matter how well the team are doing on the pitch. The tourists that seem to think they need to film every attack on they smart device won’t be there on a rainy night in Hull. They won’t queue up in the rain for the chance to buy a League Cup 3rd round ticket against Darlington (thankfully due to online booking neither will I anymore, but you get where I’m going with this, even though I still fondly remember queuing for big Chelsea games down the East stand till you got to the old portacabin window).
Football is a work place for plenty lucky men and women. I’m sure during their day job they don’t swear. I’m sure there’s no foul and abusive language in the football offices and treatment rooms up and down the country. I can confirm this at at least one London club I used to work at, the behind the scenes were business as usual and very respectable. When interacting with home and away fans on Matchdays no one would be swearing during any normal conversation.
Swearing is quite rightly wrong and inappropriate when talking to staff about tickets; asking for onions on your burger or telling the steward you know where you’re going. I agree you shouldn’t buy a ticket in the family stand and shout obscenities for no reason. Players shouldn’t swear at fans directly like Jack did recently. Right place and right time.
So, when it comes to kick off, in the stands (non family stands), the players on the pitch, there’s no way we should liken that to a ‘working environment’. It’s not. It’s football. There’s a reason it’s called a ‘mans game’ (This isn’t being sexist – yes there’s sexism in the past and still today, but this phrase isn’t sexist, it’s saying it’s physical, demanding and passionate. Not that woman can’t be, just that when the phrase was coined these attributes fitted with the saying). The game needs passion. It’s grown men putting their bodies through more effort Most of us could for 90+ minutes for 3 points. We’re all adults so the odd swear word is nothing. When it crosses over to racism then it’s wrong. Players are adult men and aware they’re role models, that’s why they don’t swear in interviews after the game. That’s why, with exception of Mr Rooney below, don’t scream swear words into the camera.
Then there’s the argument about the family stand and kids in these sections, and on TV to be fair, seeing their idols swearing following good and bad events (scoring or conceding for instance). To this I say this is where the parents need to step up. I’ve got kids and when I take them to football they understand it’s an adult arena, I’ve bought them up to not copy the things they hear. End of problem. If you’re blaming a football player for your child swearing regularly, you need help. My Dad took me throughout my childhood and I’d get a clip round the ear if I copied what I heard. I’d eventually be allowed to join in with some choice songs but knew I wasn’t allowed to sing them in front of Mum when I got home. The football stadium should be accessible for families (don’t get me started on the price accessibility), but not to the detriment of the atmosphere. Tourists are already ruining home atmospheres but I know it’s difficult for clubs to keep to FFP without advertising around the world. They could do more to try to bring back the old ‘generation hand me down‘ type of fans where families pass their team down generations, but that’s another article. Football stadiums are stuff of childhood dreams, mine at least, and need to be protected. I don’t swear throughout the week, in front of my kids, at work or on the phone. Neither do I suddenly sound like I’ve got Tourette’s (not using this as a joke, it’s a terrible condition that needs support and understanding, not mockery) the moment I pass through the turnstiles. But we shouldn’t have to change our culture of over 100 years just because it might upset someone that can’t teach his kid to not copy everything they hear. If I’m next to a kid at a game, or indeed have felt flush and taken my own, then i’ll tone it down. I appreciate it when others around me do too, but would never complain because it’s me that’s put my child in that environment that I know will have swearing involved. It’s therefore not their fault, it’s mine. I don’t take my kids to the cinema to see a film rated 18 then complain about the violence. Football doesn’t have age restrictions, but understand where you’re going. Understand the environment before choosing to sit in the most popular part of the stadium for singing fans. I’ve bought my kids up to not copy. They don’t copy what they see on the news or in films. And they know not to at a game.
We’ve already taken away much of the physicality of the past out of it, mostly for the good of the game. Let’s not continue to take the passion out of the fans. Right place, right time.
this is just funny…
Now check out this quick YouTube from Mock the Week on the subject…
Fred Macaulay Sometimes Boo just isn’t enough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTTfmz5TZNk&sns=tw via @youtube