One question that inevitably comes up in casual conversation down the pub or wherever when the topic takes on political overtones is.
“If your so interested why don’t you get into politics then? ”
This question, which is usually a put down and implies. Political interest is for politicians and experts and is the concern of professionals and those who know. Rather, than something that interweaves in all aspects of peoples lives However as someone put it
‘when the arrogant forces of commercial interests and investors come into contact and threaten the welfare and interests of the individual the connection between political interest and social interest becomes clearer.’
Or should become clear (as has becoming the case with football) when the working-mans-sport becomes a wealthy mans hobby
There is no clearer example of this than the situation the sports fan finds them selves in, especially sport. As Cary Watson, (US) explains If you want to hear anti capitalist rhetoric or discussion don’t go looking in the editorial pages of the newspaper. Go to the sports section. It is there that you will find the vilification of the top league teams and their management by the fans.
As sporting generations who have invested emotionally and financially in the various clubs, watch as tickets become unaffordable to the average fan and as grounds turn more space over to executive suites; coverage goes from main networks to pay as you watch cable, cynical merchandising of strips which change most every season specifically aimed at the young into pressurize parents into buying each one as it appears. Up and coming talent in smaller clubs is snatched up by bigger clubs before they can make any mark in the team that nurtured them.
Big teams like Rangers and Celtic whose conceived roots are in Glasgow threaten to shift their allegiance to another country and league to play football. Is that to do with the health of the game or egotistical and self- important greed? Ask any football fan.
A new vein of dissent
So could what its fans usually see as apolitical and only a game, work as a catalyst for wider political awareness. As sport is globalized and “Coke” fastens its grip on anything that moves a new vein of dissent is materializing from an unexpected source namely the sports fan.
And from the land of corporate America Watson precede “It seems clear that when sports fans react with rage at the actions of the Yankees and Irsays of the world, they are not just bemoaning the state of the game. Part of this fury stems from the realization that money, capital, is being used as a weapon, and a blunt one, at that. Its capitalism unmasked and a significant number of people, most of who wouldn’t describe themselves as socialists if their lives depended on it, are appalled at what they see. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the anti – capitalist bent of so many fans and sports journalists is that it creates a fertile environment in which to educate people about the larger problems created by a capitalist economy.
Thanks to the mendacious and piratical behavior of pro sports, millions of fans are savvy to the ways and means a huge bankroll can stack the deck against their rooting interests and the interests of their sport. It is not a huge jump from there to show people how the capitalism that ruins their favorite team or sport can, and is, ruining lives within and without the U.S.”
And finally an indication of how the beautiful game here is getting in line with its American cousins. As the captain of the Irish team was sent home from the teams training camp preparing for the world cup, due to a conflict with the team manager. Manchester United (the player’s team) sent their private jet specially to fly him home. The new strip will be due out two weeks after Xmas no doubt to pay for it
Based on z mag article (lost link)