From conf north forum...
THE football season is back and I fully expect the pubs of Gloucester to be once again packed out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with punters glued to Sky Sports, proudly displaying the replica shirts of every Premier League club in the land.
I, for one, won't be joining them.
Not because I don't like football – I love the game just as much as the next man – but because it has never occurred to me that I should support any other team than the one which represents my place of birth.
That's right, I'm a Gloucester City supporter.
When revealing this to someone in a conversation, it is at this point where I normally get a funny look and a reply along the lines of 'but they're rubbish', to which I reply: 'well who do you support then?'
The answer is generally 'Man Utd/Liverpool/Spurs'. When I ask them how many times they have been to watch their team, the answer is almost always: 'never'.
When you sit in a pub watching football on a big screen wearing a replica shirt then as far as I can see the only thing you are supporting is the brewery, the satellite broadcaster and the kit manufacturer.
The idea of forming an emotional attachment to a club from another part of the country, having barely ever seen them play in the flesh, is totally alien to me.
Media hype and relentless advertising has convinced people that football below the level of the Premier League has no value.
The football-loving public has bought into the idea that watching a Premier League or Champions League match on TV is some sort of life-changing event in itself: a valid way to replicate the experience of actually going to a game.
It isn't, and never will be.
Of course that isn't to say that us non-league supporters never watch football on TV.
If you appreciate football then you will always appreciate watching the best players in the world. But when it comes to real entertainment then there's only one way to experience it and that's live and local.
Football is the number one sport in the world for a very good reason, and that's because no matter what the level, no matter how much the players get paid, no matter how large the crowd, it can still be entertaining and exciting to watch.
I've been in crowds of 90,000 people who are bored witless and I've been in crowds of less than 1,000 people where the atmosphere has been electric.
Supporting local produce and local businesses isn't a new concept but it's something that we are all encouraged to do more of these days.
In terms of local pride and local representation your local football team ticks all the boxes.
For these reasons I think that a lot of rugby supporters would be pleasantly surprised by the spirit and attitude shown by their local football club.
A lot of rugby supporters fall in the 'anti-football' camp and I totally understand why – they're not the only ones who have been turned off football because of the eye-watering wages, the play-acting, the decline in respect towards officials and the off-field antics and behaviour of young footballers.
But that's the Premier League – a different kettle of fish altogether from the school teachers and electricians who play for the love of the game and not the size of the wage packet down at Gloucester City AFC.
So, if you are proud of your city and you are brave enough to try something a little different, then watching local football could be right up your street.
The season starts here.
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Join date : 2011-01-05
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