Sometimes football shows us up in our true colours. No not the colours of one of the teams we are passionate and blind about but it throws some light—or at least does so for me—on how society has developed, or, rather, regressed.
During the Carling Cup final between Liverpool and Cardiff the national anthems of the countries the teams represented weren't played. Set aside the daftness of one country which is grandly touted as united—the United Kingdom—having two anthems. Imagine a team from the north of Italy playing Rome and having two anthems played—one of Bossi's Padania and the other one of whatever remains of poor Italy. Did I say daft?
Anyway it is even dafter that national anthems are ever played when two clubs are playing each other. This is modern football we are talking about. So I doubt there are too many players in the Liverpool colours who live in Liverpool and grace the Liverpool kit through choice and not because of shining lucre. Cardiff being in Wales, I imagine even less people want to live there—and I do hope the Welsh still have a smidgen of humour . Or is humour one of those rare bits of life nowadays?
But the interesting –or rather terribly tragic–reason the anthems weren't played was delightfully dafter.
The authorities or whoever decides on the playing or otherwise of anthems thought they mustn't play the anthems and it seems never will because during the last game between two teams from England and Wales both anthems were booed. I see. Or rather I don't wish to see the logic of this.
So the unruly louts—also sometimes derisorily called football fans—dictate what happens in stadia? I thought that it's the authorities with their batons and other batty implements who usually bully us, the common folk and other supporters of football teams. Not the other way round.
It's not that I wanted the anthems played or sung. The last thing I find appropriate before a football fest is a baritone rendition of God Save the Queen and an anthem sung in whatever language the Welsh sing their anthem in. But since when should a boo, a jeer or a cacophony of both change the ways we want to go? Maybe the fans at that particular game were strangely erudite and musically gifted and felt the anthems had been sung badly so they had to refrain from their cheering of the bands or singers.
The world is surely becoming a strange place to inhabit when jeering can have such earth-shattering results. I always thought booing was part of life and of our freedom to criticise. If it was too much—"over-the-limit" booing– then when is too much? And if the authorities, for some strange reason, worried that the playing of the anthems could lead to mayhem and murder then maybe they should have taken more drastic measures by banning the game completely and, like proper spoilsports, shared the spoils, the cup and the proceeds between both warring clubs.
After all during this game someone might have jeered the referee and linesman (or whatever they are called nowadays) and these could have been mortally offended, packed their whistles, flags and balls and gone crying all the way home before the final whistle.