Love United Hate What?
January 2, 2015 – 12:20 pm | No Comment | by:

Some things to bear in mind before publicly announcing you think politics have no place in football, courtesy of the excellent Llandudno Jet Set:
The parts of the internet that have held my recent attention have …

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Love United Hate What? by:
January 2, 2015 – 12:20 pm | No Comment

Some things to bear in mind before publicly announcing you think politics have no place in football, courtesy of the excellent Llandudno Jet Set:

The parts of the internet that have held my recent attention have been full of football secularisation debate anger. Lots of angry people have been getting really angry about the fact that some people seem unable to separate politics from football. The anger has seeped out of both ends of the political spectrum.

From the primordial swamp end the massive, and politically significant, group “The Pie And Mash Squad” “think” Clapton FC should be forced out of business. The intellectual vanguard of the racist moron movement don’t like the smelly bearded leftard Clapton fans displaying “political” flags because that kind of thing is against “FA rules” or something. A quite literally massive amount of non-threatening vanguardists have consequently threatened to stage non-threatening, non-political and, above all, peaceful demonstrations until the smelly bearded leftards go home for a wash.

Divs

So what’s it to be then, eh?

From the smelly bearded leftard end some followers of the club I co-own, FC United of Manchester, have decided that they’ve really had enough of that politics. The feelings on message boards and facebook groups has been coalesced in the “LOVE UNITED, HATE POLITICS” flag at Boxing Day’s match.

To be fair to the people that want a secularised football, there’s nothing remotely political in 22 millionaires kicking a bag of air about while 50,000 people pay 70 quid to silently consume the glorious product. Well apart from the idea that to get anywhere in football you need a set of players that works together to achieve a common goal via the principle of communally agreed roles.

On the other hand, there was this interview with the Super Furry Animals that I read more than a decade ago. During the interview the interviewer described the SFA’s position on adverts – No allowing capitalists to use their music – as “political”. The comment led to Gruff’s explanation of the band’s political position.

Gruff conceded that the SFA’s position was “political” but then pointed out that the opposite position – musicians freely allowing companies to use their music in adverts – was also “political”. Gruff stated that when musicians allow their art to be used commercially they uphold the exploitative nature of the capitalist mode of production. Therefore musicians were acting politically by not acting politically.

SFA002

Since I realised that Gruff’s idea is as applicable to football as it is to music it has been both a good comeback and the maxim that governs my outlook. Doing nothing, or being consciously apolitical, is a political act whether people like it or not, it helps the ruling class to rule through complicity.

Some of the “Non-political political” acts football fans perpetrate include; Turning their minds off because you’re at “the football”, deluding themselves that they’re part of the “we” because of a replica shirt, buying Murdoch’s products, bantering themselves to death.

If doing nothing or acting and looking like a dick is a political act you might as well do the opposite. Here’s the XXXXXXXXX Jet Set guide to being a more political football fan.

1. Resist corporate football

Corporate football is the version of football that belongs to Gazprom, Nike, Murdoch and Blatter rather the likes of us. It is responsible for the champions league, the premier league, third party player ownership and season tickets that cost £2018.

Corporate football has thrived because people looked away. People didn’t have to believe in corporate football but they willingly chose to follow the lies, the spin and the glossy PR, as Steve Biko once said;

“The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

The first and most important “political” act a football fan can undertake is to resist the grasp of corporate football. The first step to resisting is being aware that there’s another way to “do football”. As people become aware of the other ways they will be reminded that football is tied to people and community rather than money and shiny PR glamour.

When people make the simple decision to resist everything else follows. If enough people resist change will naturally happen. The carelessness of people got us in to this situation, the righteousness of people will get us out.

index

2. Resist Murdoch

Buying a Murdoch media product is not a perquisite to enjoying the football.

3. Humanise other fans

Why hate someone merely because they’ve acted in the same way as you? All fans made a decision to be interested in football, all fans decided to follow a club. What’s the point in hating someone merely because their club plays in other colours? People generally live in the same sort of houses, eat the same sort of food and wear the same sort of clothes as the fans of your club.

Why regurgitate the execrable humour of Soccer AM? No-one cares that you think you can do what you want, or that you want to go home, least of all the local residents.

We need to humanise other fans by acting normally with them. To put this more simply. DO NOT USE THE BANTER. NEVER STOOP TO THE BANTER. Using “The Banter” is wrong, it turns people into morons and alienates you from your fellow fans.

Having said that there are still people that deserve contempt – comedian chanters, pricks, racists, those that tolerate corporate football – don’t hate them, they’re still humans, they can be changed.

4. Think Global, Act Local*

*This point refers the wrong sort of fans, rather than ex-pats. I think we all know what sort of fans are “the wrong sort of fans”.

Paying 60 quid for a polyester advert doesn’t bestow membership of the “we”. Turning up at the pub on a Sunday in your personalised replica shirt and shouting a lot doesn’t turn you into a massive fan of whomever. Enjoying a season ticket holder discount for the coaches and being in with the clique that controls your area’s supporters’ club doesn’t allow you to look down at the fans of “lesser clubs”.

tossers-in-a-pub

There’s no moral superiority in standing at pub counters and shooting dismissive glares towards people that obviously don’t support a proper team or disrespecting the people from another place by dismissively labelling the area around “your” ground as a shithole.

When everything is boiled down, propaganda has been swallowed, Murdoch has been paid and local clubs has been traded for glamorous ones. Think global, act local. Have a look at the local football options and do something useful in your own community.

5. Volunteer at your local club

If you really want to feel the glow of righteousness volunteer.

6. Help organise a General Strike in football

This idea was mentioned in Issue 2 of Stand. A general strike would be a great time to be alive.

Imagine a mass withdrawal of interest and attendance. A month without fans, a month of empty grounds, empty official Murdoch pubs and disused club shops. Then imagine a second and a third month. Imagine everyone standing together, united by a common desire to make things possible.

A general strike may be a little more utopian but we can make it happen, as the Stand article told us we have nothing to lose but our chains. We can all miss a few matches for the greater good.

Political change can be easy if you want it to happen.

A Methodist in the Madness
December 5, 2014 – 11:42 pm | No Comment | by:
A Methodist in the Madness

One of FC United of Manchester’s Course You Can Malcolm collective has sent us the following for publication on their behalf:
‘Twenty-two is a number that found its spiritual home at Course You Can Malcolm.
Whereas bingo …

Potteries Climbdown
December 1, 2014 – 10:01 pm | No Comment | by:
Potteries Climbdown

The N40 are in town on Tuesday so there’s bound to be mayhem and carnage. With that in mind, here’s our own hooliologist Angry Bear’s dissing of Staffordshire’s most feared firm, which originally appeared in …

It’s raining goals at Highbury…
November 24, 2014 – 11:02 am | No Comment | by:

At some point towards half time I blacked out and came round to find myself in Arsenal’s first aid room. “What’s the score?” I asked one of the medics. “3-0 to you lot”. “You’re joking”. Unbelievably he wasn’t.

Good news about AFL fundraising
November 16, 2014 – 10:59 pm | No Comment | by:
Good news about AFL fundraising

We are pleased to announce that due to positive dialogue between AFL and FC United’s board, great progress has been made on this and just this past week we have come to an initial, possible agreement on what the money may be spent on.

Seven shades of red
November 11, 2014 – 10:00 pm | No Comment | by:

While passing the line of teenagers like ourselves we couldn’t but help notice that some of them were wearing black bin liners. We stood and stared. “What ya looking at?” “Why the bin liners?” “‘Cause …

Explore the past, change the future – get up close to historic activist material at the Working Class Movement Library
October 7, 2014 – 9:42 am | No Comment | by:
Explore the past, change the future – get up close to historic activist material at the Working Class Movement Library

Here’s a message for activists and campaigners from our friends at Salford’s Working Class Movement Library:
Fighting for a better world?
Wednesdays 15, 22, 29  October, 6.30-8pm
Come along and spend three evenings exploring what you’ve got in …

Standing in the shadows of the miners’ strike…
October 1, 2014 – 2:15 pm | No Comment | by:
Standing in the shadows of the miners’ strike…

The much anticipated Manchester screening of ‘Still the enemy within’, the crowd-funded film about the 1984-1985 Great Miners’ Strike, takes place this coming Monday, 6th October, at Cornerhouse.

If you know your history…
September 30, 2014 – 8:51 am | One Comment | by:
If you know your history…

A brief history of how FC United of Manchester’s first board came to be… Well worth a read for those new to the club, or those with short memories.

Kick it all out
September 29, 2014 – 8:59 am | No Comment | by:
Kick it all out

Probably no set of fans in English football flies the anti-discrimination flag better than FC United of Manchester. We’re not perfect, but we must be doing something right…

Don’t call my dog a ‘bitch’…
September 26, 2014 – 11:36 am | No Comment | by:
Don’t call my dog a ‘bitch’…

G was one of a group of us acting as the ‘RAC front desk’, a name that suggested more status than we actually had. We didn’t have desks and the only thing we were at the front of was the queue for abuse.

Football fans versus homophobia
September 23, 2014 – 8:23 am | No Comment | by:
Football fans versus homophobia

FC United fans have recently recreated a banner that is famous across Europe as part of the campaign to counter homophobia at football matches.

Our NHS
September 10, 2014 – 8:28 pm | No Comment | by:
Our NHS

A reminder from Lung contributor Jonathan Allsopp that we’re in danger of losing the NHS unless we don’t fight back:
Ellen Wilkinson is a name that’s probably unfamiliar to many outside of Manchester or the north …

Mule of Oi
August 31, 2014 – 11:04 pm | No Comment | by:
Mule of Oi

It’s come to our attention that religious extremists are conspiring to take control and run our real ale pubs, oil and oatcakes. Men have been seen, wearing great bushy beards, unkempt straggly hair, wearing strange …

Scholes slams blues for lack of support
August 29, 2014 – 8:00 am | No Comment | by:
Scholes slams blues for lack of support

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes hit out at the club’s blue rivals, for the poor atmosphere they create at European home games.

Fit and proper…
August 29, 2014 – 7:55 am | No Comment | by:
Fit and proper…

I much preferred it thirty years ago when the middle classes looked at you as some kind of social leper if you spent your Saturday afternoons on the terraces. Now we are saturated with it and everyone has to have their say…writes Andrew Rhodes

Looking after your bottom ends…
August 26, 2014 – 12:39 pm | No Comment | by:
Looking after your bottom ends…

“No one likes us, we don’t care” – I always thought that Millwall’s favourite song was better suited to Manchester United, particularly in the late ‘90s when every away game in a small provincial town …

Cartoon lions and millionaire footballers
August 25, 2014 – 10:56 pm | No Comment | by:
Cartoon lions and millionaire footballers

Has the Class of ’92 got involved `to put something back into the community’ or to ultimately make money?

Glazers thrive despite on-pitch failures
August 20, 2014 – 6:32 pm | No Comment | by:
Glazers thrive despite on-pitch failures

An excellent piece from The Guardian‘s David Conn:
Amid the reams of corporate boasting in the Glazer family’s pitch to make $200m from selling a small slice of Manchester United plc shares, a section trumpets to …

Spirit, patience, gentleness
August 16, 2014 – 8:24 am | One Comment | by:
Spirit, patience, gentleness

‘Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou – let deeds, not words, express
Thine exceeding loveliness.

The Great War – myths and realities
August 4, 2014 – 11:25 am | No Comment | by:
The Great War – myths and realities

The Working Class Movement Library‘s exhibition, The Great War: myths and realities, opens on Wednesday 6 August.  It explores topics such as Salford’s response to the outbreak of war, the strength of the anti-war movement …