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Have football clubs always been so poisonous?

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Following the crowd trouble at West Ham yesterday in protest against their owners it got me thinking. Have football clubs always been this poisonous? I don't know whether it's because of my age but 10-15 years ago I was too busy collecting Merlin stickers to notice any protests or rumblings within club hierarchy whereas now I could name many teams off the top of my hat that have been killed (or damaged) as a result of poor decisions at board level; Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth, Leyton Orient, Blackpool, Wimbledon, West Ham, Charlton, Coventry, Sunderland, Aston Villa - the list goes on and on. Some worse than others but it's becoming normal for there to be a major disconnect between board and fan. 

Has it always been this way? 

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It’s not the fault of the clubs. It’s societies problem. I need a keyboard to go into more detail but I can’t blame the clubs 

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14 hours ago, Batard said:

It’s not the fault of the clubs. It’s societies problem. I need a keyboard to go into more detail but I can’t blame the clubs 

While I won't say the clubs aren't totally irresponsible I can half see what you mean. I'm basically the same about needing the keyboard to go into detail but I do sort of sense nowadays most fans seem to be unhappy and I've been guilty of this myself.

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10 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

Football fans have never not been poisonous and toxic though, have they?

The 80’s were considered the halcyon days of hooliganism in the England and Wales, the 90’s still had its moments on that front, England fans started this millenium by wrecking Charleroi at Euro 2000 and there’s been quite a few incidents since then. 

However, I think there’s two points within Cannabis’ opening post. The bit about Football fans being poisonous, which I’ve talked about above and a secondary point about the relationship between Football Clubs and it’s fans. 

In terms of the relationship between Football Clubs and it’s fans, the relationship between the two, at most English professional clubs, is broken, breaking down or non-existent. Football fans are merely customers now and there are opinions and concerns are not really taken into consideration by clubs these days.

It’s quite easy to see why people are so disengaged and disenchanted with their Football Clubs when you read about how fans are treated and from our own personal experiences at Football in England.

Once disengagement and disenchantment sets in, you see anger and toxicity breed like wildfire, which leads to what you see at some clubs. Social media also fans the flames of anger and causes no end of drama.

It would an easy tap-in here to become xenophobic and have a go at Football Chairmen from different countries but I won’t because it’s not just owners and chairmen from outside of the UK who are causing there to be a breakdown in relationship between clubs and fans. 

TOP POST!

Deserves a lot more than just a rep.  But thank you for writing that mate.

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34 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

Football fans have never not been poisonous and toxic though, have they?

The 80’s were considered the halcyon days of hooliganism in the England and Wales, the 90’s still had its moments on that front, England fans started this millenium by wrecking Charleroi at Euro 2000 and there’s been quite a few incidents since then. 

However, I think there’s two points within Cannabis’ opening post. The bit about Football fans being poisonous, which I’ve talked about above and a secondary point about the relationship between Football Clubs and it’s fans. 

In terms of the relationship between Football Clubs and it’s fans, the relationship between the two, at most English professional clubs, is broken, breaking down or non-existent. Football fans are merely customers now and there are opinions and concerns are not really taken into consideration by clubs these days.

It’s quite easy to see why people are so disengaged and disenchanted with their Football Clubs when you read about how fans are treated and from our own personal experiences at Football in England.

Once disengagement and disenchantment sets in, you see anger and toxicity breed like wildfire, which leads to what you see at some clubs. Social media also fans the flames of anger and causes no end of drama.

It would an easy tap-in here to become xenophobic and have a go at Football Chairmen from different countries but I won’t because it’s not just owners and chairmen from outside of the UK who are causing there to be a breakdown in relationship between clubs and fans. 

I'm sure there's also the international aspect to be considered where local fans see footage of Asians,  Australians and Arabs in tears of joy or rage from afar over the exploits of their own local childhood club and feel there's something inherently impure about it all that didn't used to be the case. 

 

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1 hour ago, Harry said:

I'm sure there's also the international aspect to be considered where local fans see footage of Asians,  Australians and Arabs in tears of joy or rage from afar over the exploits of their own local childhood club and feel there's something inherently impure about it all that didn't used to be the case. 

 

That's just an underlining symptom (one of hundreds) of what Smiley wrote and not at all the main reasons behind the change in sentiments and relationship ("relationship" being in italic because there is no traditional relationship anymore and only one of the fan being a customer nowadays) between club and fan.

I think only maybe @Bluewolf on here due to age (maybe there are others but I think we may be alone) will remember (properly) what the relationship between club and fan was like years back.  My memories go back to the late 70s because the mid 70s I can't swear to anything as I was way too young although that's when I was first taken to football by family.

On top of it all mate, I was actually born and bred in the Arsenal area 'London N5' at a stone throw from either the old Highbury Stadium or the new Emirates Stadium.  Even when I began to work and made my way in life I decided to buy my home in the area I was brought up in and decided not to move somewhere else.  Only my 10 year stint living in Spain has broken that relationship on my part.

But I can tell you many many stories about the relationship between Arsenal Football Club and the N5 area here in North London (Borough of Islington).  The community spirit and how involved the club was while I was brought up in so many things that occurred in the area.  I've also told in the past about how Arsenal would send £10 at Christmas to the more underprivileged families in the area and I've told of how as a kid (a Junior Gunner) I used to know every doorman on match days at the old Highbury and also the guard that stood by the doors of the Marbled Halls al dressed up smart in his navy long Royal army coat uniform.  I've also told stories about how on weekday evenings when Arsenal would play the odd game us friends in the area would run to the stadium at halftime and the doormen would let us in for free where the older men in the stadium would put us on their shoulders because it was all standing then.

By the way... Arsenal fans have always been moaners anyhow and as a 10 year ago while waiting to go into the stadium at the turnstiles you would hear the old men saying "we're shit, we're shit now, we were shit before and we'll always be shit" xD

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Football clubs originally started as centres of working communities, who spent their weeks doing long days of very dull, alienating work for employers who didn't give a shit about them. 

At the weekend, they went and cheered on a team that they felt they had some personal stake in, that played for them and people like them. It gave them a feeling of being part of something real rather than just a monetised instrument of value - like another pair of hands in a mine or another number on the payroll. 

Now thanks to the influx of capital into the game and the accompanying wave of dodgy owners with no connection to the club or the community, fans have been commodified and alienated, just like people already are in every other part of their life. 

Football was born as a working-class local institution and now its just another asset on the books of dodgy businessesmen, massive international corporations, foreign oligarchs, or authoritarian states. 

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This is a thought provoking debate so it's a good one. There does seem to be spikes in activity for stuff like this. I imagine part of it is down to social media making things more public like the protests at Blackpool and Leyton Orient which you wouldn't hear that much about otherwise.

Football is an outlet for a lot of people, we have to remember that. Whether that's an outlet to kick off at someone or something or an outlet to feel part of something, that depends on the person but people get very emotional about football. If you twisted it you could say that protests are evidence of people wanting their club to maintain whatever they are supposed to stand for and that, actually in terms of fan base at least, that's the opposite of poisonous.

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