Football Is Hypocrisy, Stop Pretending Otherwise

There are many things that have annoyed me about the conversations around football during the lockdown. The first is the idea that even a slight conversation about the sport is somehow disrespecting those that have lost their lives or the doctors and nurses that risk theirs every single day. It’s a nonsense, with life carrying on in a multitude of other ways with every passing moment. I wonder how many of those that take to social media to proclaim that you ‘can’t talk about football’ are also watching films or TV shows and posting about how much they enjoyed them, for example. I wonder which of them took to parks around the country on the bank holiday to have a sunbathe and a drink. Life hasn’t ground to a halt, nor should it. Football is an important part of the lives of millions of people, so saying that we’d like it to resume again when it is safe for it to do so isn’t the equivalent of spitting in someone’s face when you pop the shops.

The other thing that is winding me up is the talk of football re-starting being the equivalent of some sort of death sentence for the players. Even aside from the fact that they are amongst the fittest people on the planet and therefore unlikely to be affected in the same way as someone with an underlying condition, there’s also the fact that they’ll be tested regularly in a way that people working in supermarkets or driving buses won’t be. Obviously none of them should be put at risk, but acting as if they’re all going to die the second that they walk onto a football pitch belittles the loss of life from those who actually are putting themselves in serious risk every day. Perhaps more than anything else, though, what’s truly got my goat is the idea that Everton, Manchester United or Aston Villa fans, to name but a few, are somehow morally superior to a Liverpool supporter that dare suggest football should resume as soon as possible. Football is hypocrisy.

All Fans Would Act Differently If Situations Were Reversed

It’s become something of a common refrain on social media. A Liverpool supporter suggests that they’d like the season to be resumed and a fan of another club, often the likes of Manchester United or Everton, pipes up and says ‘I bet they wouldn’t be saying that if we were about to win the title’. Obviously I’m not going to get into the laughable idea of Everton winning the Premier League, but I will discuss the notion that things might be different if it wasn’t us going for the title. The reality is that of course some Liverpool fans would have a different attitude if it was one of our rivals that would be crowned champions upon football’s resumption. That’s how rivalry works. Equally the same Evertonians and Mancunians that are desperate for the season to be cancelled right now would be writing letters to parliament asking for football to be resumed if it was their club that was vying for the title. That’s how football works.

There’ll be some opposition fans reading this pretending that they would still want the season voided even if it was their club going for the title, but in the vast majority of cases we all know that that’s a nonsense. If it were up to me then I would want the season to carry on regardless of where Liverpool were going to finish and irrelevant of who was going to win the title because I have no idea how a season can be started before another one is ended. That being said, I would obviously enjoy the ‘banter’ of it being cancelled before Everton won the title, say, because that’s what being a football supporter is all about. The difference is I would readily admit as much rather than try to climb onto some sort of high horse where I acted all high and mighty. It’s the hypocrisy of so many that I find difficult to stomach, because it allows them to act is if they’re somehow better than others when we all know it’s simply not true.

Hypocrisy Is Everywhere In Football All Of The Time

We can act as if the hypocrisy that we’re witnessing is somehow a new thing, but it isn’t. Listening to the clubs at the bottom of the Premier League say that they’d be fine with neutral venues if relegation was taken off the table makes clear what they’re actually all about. They don’t want to not play football because they’re afraid for the health and well-being of those involved, they just don’t want to be in the Championship next season. It’s precisely the same level of self-interest as Liverpool wanting to win the league, if not even worse; at least Liverpool’s desire to be crowned champions is based on success rather than avoiding comeuppance. Yet you can see similar levels of hypocrisy week-in, week-out when the Premier League is actually in full flow. It’s seen in the times that supporters claim a penalty one minute when in it’s in their favour and then call precisely the same thing a dive later on when it would go against them.

What about the Newcastle supporters who have been critical of Sheikh Mansour’s reign at Manchester City, pointing out that they’ve bought success whilst sport washing, but are desperate for a takeover from Saudi Arabia? After years of Mike Ashley bleeding the football club dry, few can belittle the Magpies and their desire for something better, but is the constant sport washing that is going in really good for the game? How about people who spent years attacking referees and are now saying that the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee is ruining the game? Isn’t that more than a little hypocritical? Everywhere you look you’ll find people saying things that are doused with hypocrisy and doing so with a straight face. You can dislike that aspect of the sport, but the need of some to pretend it doesn’t exist is just weird. Would Reds want the season resumed if it was United going for the title? Who knows. We’re all hypocrites.

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