As Tony and I made our way back from the recent AISA agm we started to discuss some of the issues raised by the meeting and this led into a rather more wide ranging debate about the state of modern football. I have to admit that I have a tendency to ‘go off on one’ (to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare) but Tony suggested I write some of these thoughts down as a post for Untold.
Perhaps he thought it would be cathartic (perhaps he just wanted to shut me up before we missed our tube stop – again!) but whatever the reason here goes…
One of the items on AISA’s agenda was sexism in football and we had a panel that included the Arsenal and England footballer Faye White and Anna Kessel, who co-founded Women in Football.
It is quite ridiculous that in 2015 we still have to campaign for equality in society and an end to sexism. Much of it is dismissed as ‘banter’ and women are seemingly expected to laugh it off when hundreds of football fans chant ‘get your tits out for the lads’ or similar.
Worse still is the abuse aimed at female referees like Sian Massey or women who have the audacity to think they can commentate on MALE football matches. And don’t get me started on the Eva Carneiro affair and some of the comments and images that have been produced in the wake of Mourinho’s treatment of her.
It’s the 21st century chaps so can we all please just grow up? Is it really necessary to chant things about the current Tottenham manager’s wife/mother/girlfriend?
On a quite different tack I can get quite agitated about the ways in which the wealthy clubs in European football feel they can simply ignore any of the rules or attempts to make the game more equitable. FFP is dead in the water and presumably because the money men that own clubs like (and I’m sorry City, Chelsea and other fans but this has to be said) Chelsea, Manchester City want to be. They don’t want a level playing field and NO ONE seems prepared to take them on.
I love Arsenal but do not want us to go that way – nor is it exciting to see little Bournemouth rise up the leagues if that rise is the result of financial doping (I’m not saying it is, I just prefer the days when Wimbledon emerged on the back of fan power and bloody hard work).
The Premiership and Champion’s League will be won by the team with the most money, because they have the most expensive footballers. Is that ok? I don’t think it is.
While I’m about it how can it be right for Chelsea to have 33 players out on loan? Surely there has to be a limit? How does the FA’s new initiative to improve the England team square with clubs having huge squads where many players never get to play for the club they joined?
I could go (and on) but I’ll leave it there for the moment. As many articles have already outlined there are considerable problems with football at the moment and I think the only way to address this is for supporters to come together.
This happens in a way with the Fans Forum but we need a bigger more inclusive movement. When we play opposition teams we snarl and chant songs about them, and in the confines of a football match I am comfortable with that (so long as its not racist, sexist or homophobic) but outside the ground we need to put our differences behind us and look at what unites us.
Untold is an ideal place to start this discussion because it is less tribal and self-obsessed than many sites out there (Arsenal of otherwise).
The revolution starts here.
- @UntoldArsenal on Twitter
Anniversaries (more on the home page)
17 September 2000: Nigel Winterburn joined West Ham. He had played 440 league games for Arsenal and scored eight goals and went on to play 82 more for WHU, making an incredible career league total of 687 games.
17 September 2003: Arsenal lost 0-3 to Inter Milan in the Champions League, despite suffering no defeats in the league all season.
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal