Since the beautiful game was first conceived in England there have continued to be issues that divide fans whilst other facets of the game can bring fans together as one.
Supporters of any football club will always feel united by an allegiance to other fans of “their” club, even those from completely different walks of life that they have never met. At football matches around the world people will talk football with complete strangers, often solely because they wear the same shirt or a t-shirt confirming their shared beliefs.
This contrasts to the somewhat irrational loathing of fans of their chosen football club’s local rivals. Despite the fact that they might indeed be very nice people, they support the club from the other side of the city and wear a different colour football shirt.
Such rivalries are often quickly thrown aside when it comes to the international football scene when apparent enemies join together in their support of the England national team, and suddenly it is English fans together, taking on the rest of the world.
It is a strange power that football has to quickly join or divide individuals and groups, resulting in apparently irrational behaviour, which can at times be positive and beautiful, but at other times can be destructive and ugly.
– It is believed that in some war-torn countries in Africa that fighting stops whenever the national team’s matches are covered on television
– The passion of South American fans resulted in Honduras and El Salvador going to war following a match between the two countries in 1969.
– In April 2000, 2 Leeds United fans were fatally stabbed in Istanbul; the only reason for this was that they were supporting their team play against Galatasary of Turkey.
Football will always continue to divide opinion and provide much-loved debate for many fans. Even fans of the same club will have many different points of view to discuss and perhaps argue about. Here are some of the more common debates that seem to be prevalent amongst supporters of most professional football clubs.
– Which footballer is best?
– Which club can claim to have the best history?
– Which club did the match referee give more decisions to?
– Who are your favourite players?
– Who would be the best ever XI players to play for your team?
On balance it would have to be said that the positives of the Football Rivalries do far outweigh the negatives and most of the disagreements encourage only healthy debate. Football brings together people from all walks of life, from all nationalities and from all corners of the world. One only has to look at the players and fans of the English Premier League to see that Football is a universal language.
Source: Thomas Holte