Now I have to say that I was saddened by the events on Friday night, not just the “one idiot” who attached Kirkland, but the other idiots who ran aggressively on the pitch, the other idiots who tore advertising hoardings from the stand and smashed seats to use as missiles, the other idiots who threw coins and bottles, the idiot who threw a flare (yes from the Wednesday end), the idiots who sang the Turkish song and the idiots who sang the Jimmy Saville song (and it is not often you experience three sides of a ground being simultaneously lost for words) and I left the ground rapidly falling out of love with this beautiful game. I have deliberated over the passing days over what I would say in this communication, I know you are all expecting comment, especially no doubt Leeds Rob: should I be angry, should I be dismissive, outraged, pitying (which in truth are all questions I am asking myself in relation to Friday night itself), should we just pass it off as boys being boys and become the silent majority simply putting up with the minorities pathetic machismo or should I ignore it entirely and talk about something else.
Well obviously I haven’t ignored it entirely but I have decided however to mention two other things that deserve our recognition in a far more positive manner.
The first is the passing of the Teletext service which was switched off this week. I remember a time when it was the only source of up to date, as live as your TV could change pages, football scores from all around the country, a more innocent time perhaps or indeed not for it was a time that we are now looking back on through the eyes of seemingly mounting investigations about police corruption, Hillsborough and the Miners Strikes, of IRA bombing and the Cold War, for the seemingly impossible behaviour of Mr Saville and potentially others as well, it was our youthful days, our innocence, of chasing girls, early fumbles and high jinks, of the good Star Wars movies, of Redgates and Beatties and football boots only coming in black, and tight umbro replica shorts, of plastic-bagging in the perfect snow and summers awash with brilliant sunshine and sunburn instead of the floods we now have, of riding our bikes without helmets, and 2p bus fares, the excitement of Macdonalds opening in town, that first record that blew your mind and appalled your parents (of course which of these are applicable depends on how old we individually are). It’s easy to forget there was all of this in amongst the now painful realisation of what was also going on. Goodbye Teletext you served us well.
And for second, a simple Happy Birthday to Sheffield FC, 155 years old…today. Maybe I am too romantic in my viewpoint, or maybe I just don’t get out enough, but from time to time I do get a kick from knowing I still play football in the city which gave the world a game that for the most part reaches out and over and unites the differing cultures and languages and religions and race even when specific instances doesn’t. The fact that the majority are appalled by the race rows and the idiots on Friday and the stupidity often displayed by the ruling bodies is in itself a unifying force. From bad comes good, never the other way round.
There’s idiots and corruption and just plain evil out there, always have been and always will but holding on to what that we hold dear can raise us above that and make us better people. Let’s play this week in celebration, Sheffield FC…and whilst we are at it, Redgates too.
My friends, who is playing?