Call me a naive American, call me a football purest, or call me a relatively young football supporter, but some of the scenes emanating across Europe this past weekend, more specifically England’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A, have caused football to take a minor step back as our community prepares to plunge itself upon the world’s stage in just over a month. I remain incensed.
I was shocked and stunned that supporters of any club, more specifically Liverpool fans and Lazio fans in Italy, would dare go against their own team in a display of petulant, negative energy in hopes they could prevent a rival, regardless of how bitter the feud is, from winning a title, reaching the Champions League or avoiding relegation. All that hostile energy emmitted from fans of two clubs who have enough problems of their own is an ironic, yet fitting actuality.
And to the players across England and Europe who are payed exorbitant wages to perform up to or exceed the best of their abilities, shame on you. You make more money in a week than many citizens of your country make in a year, ten years or twenty. Your wages should be stripped for a month and donated to charity or to supporters who scrap and save to pay for your lackluster, embarrassing performance.
Supporters: This is the club that you’ve chosen for one reason or another. You’ve spent thousands or more of your hard earned money to watch them in person or on television over the course of a year. This is your chance in life to participate, to be apart of something bigger than yourself and to fellowship with like minded individuals. Don’t take for granted your opportunity to be able to support a football club and attend matches.
Sorry, you don’t get a choice as to which match days you want your team to win, draw or lose, it’s not your say. You support your team to win and play in a positive, honest manner each and every match, regardless of who else it may affect. Don’t believe me, ask a fan of Portsmouth Football Club. As football fans, this is what we’ve signed up for when we choose to take the plunge and give our all for our team. Fickleness be damned.
The lackluster performance of players from those aforementioned clubs should be punished by the respective officials in each league. Fines and suspensions should be used as means to prevent future behavior like what we saw this past weekend from ever happening again and ultimately placing top flight European leagues in disrepute.
I’m well aware of the deep and bitter hatred Lazio fans in Italy have for Roma fans and equally the intense rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool. I get it. That’s the reason I’m writing these very words, to hopefully sway footballs fans in general to move forward in a state of football progression of your ideals and start the long process of removing yourselves from so many years of pointless hate and aggression towards other football supporters.
The display from Lazio players at home v Inter Milan this past weekend was such a poor and abject performance that Roma’s chief Rosella Sensi was quoted as saying “As Roma president, I would have been ashamed if I had won this match“.
Ridiculously enough, Lazio fans were heard supporting Inter Milan players and cheered both Inter goals in the eventual 0-2 defeat that did in fact hinder Roma’s chances of claiming the Scudetto. In Liverpool, the vitriol that was reported when TV cameras went looking for opinions shocked and concerned former Manchester United player and columnist David Sadler, “I cannot understand any fan wanting their team to lose no matter the consequences. It left a bitter taste in my mouth”.
The bottom line here is that whenever football fans are so pleased to see their players and club perform so poorly, football indeed has a strange problem. Regardless of your opinion, remember that in this day in age when many say football is dead, predictable or ruined by money, we’ll never lose our God-given right to support the club we so desire. If the foreign, tainted mindset to hope our club loses sets in just because of some other club around the corner, we’ll slowly see the deterioration of a game we all hold so dear.