The culture of British football has long been a talking point for people all over the world, and will continue to be so as long as that culture is creating controversy. But just why does football culture in Britain look so different to the footballing culture in other countries? Many people believe it’s to do with the fans in Britain, whilst others see it as a wider issue to do with the history of Britain itself.
If you go to any Premier League match on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll see the rivalry between the fans, and this will manifest itself vocally and more often than not in what others may see as abusive, but, in reality, the chanting, the banter and the singing between two sets of fans is what makes football matches in Britain so unique. This is commonplace in Britain, not to mention the rivalries between a local derby match, where there is more at stake and the fans become even more defensive and passionate about the team they’re supporting.
Whilst that may all be commonplace at football matches in Britain, what’s not acceptable is racism and homophobia. There are laws for these three things outside of a football ground, so why do some fans think it’s acceptable to chant at their rivals using derogatory terms that are used only to offend? Or do fans simply put this under the term of ‘banter’?
Let’s look at racism first of all. It’s unfortunately reared its ugly head in football far too many times in Britain, and isn’t acceptable, especially in the modern age we now live in. Whilst the governing bodies have made headway in addressing the issue, how can a governing body simply change the fan culture of Britain? Of course, not all fans use racist terms, be it at opposing fans or footballers, but it does still happen in stadiums across Britain.
However, let’s jut look at how players haven’t helped this situation too. There are far too many times in recent history where players have used racist terms against each other – does this tell the fans that this behaviour is acceptable? Well, no, if we look at the hefty fines and sanctions imposed to said players. But does this stop fans from thinking it is acceptable behaviour?
Homophobia is still an issue in football, be it with players on the pitch or fans using offence terms against each other. Football in Britain seems to be trailing behind when it comes to supporting homosexual men; there are no openly gay footballers in any of the top four divisions in England.
What can’t be taken away from the culture of football in Britain is the fans passion for their clubs and for the game. Growing up in Britain, children realise pretty quickly just how important it is to get into football, especially boys. From football trials at schools to talking to your classmates about the weekend’s fixtures, football is a huge part of British culture.
It is this culture that should be celebrated, because in Britain, there are some of the most passionate, loyal and interesting fans in the world. Their passion to see their team do well can be seen from miles away, their dedication by travelling up and down the country shows how serious they are about their club. There are those who cast a dark shadow on the beautiful game, but on the whole, the fans in stadiums are what make football in Britain such an electrifying experience. It is this experience that should be experienced by fans all over the world, and if you ever get the opportunity to go to a football match in Britain, grab it with both hands and enjoy it, because it’s a truly eye-opening experience.
– From London, UK