Monday, July 07, 2008

Istanbul



I am wondering, again, what goes on inside football fans heads. The eternally knackered Harry Kewell, formerly of Leeds, has decided to swap the treatment table at Liverpool, for the treatment table at Galatasary, and, predictably, the Leeds fans don't like it, because some years ago two Leeds fans met premature ends after being stabbed in Istanbul, the night before the game.

I know nothing about theses two individuals and for all I know, they were polite and respectful visitors to Turkey: many of their fellow fans, however, were not. Large numbers of them had clearly arrived in Istanbul with the intention of taking over the squares and entertaining the locals with thoroughly despicable and disrespectful shows of public urination, ritual humiliations of any passing female and hearty renditions of "I'd rather be a Paki than a turk". Violence ensued, some young Turks took it upon themselves to take the fight back to our loveable rogues and there was a tragedy.

I don't really see what this has got to do with Galatasry the club, or Harry Kewell and I find myself wondering why football fans have to hang on to old enmities with such a passion. A Leeds fan has been on the radio just now saying that he had been very intimidated inside and out of the ground. He ought to try being an away fan at Elland Road. I don't know what it's like now, but in the late seventies it was one of the least welcoming and intimidating places I had been........inside and outside the ground. There is not a group of fans in this country who wouldn't be overjoyed if similar atmospheres could be created at their club; that's what all the talk about the crowd being the 12th man is all about.

So where does it end. Back in the eighties there was a memorable riot down the Blues, instigated by Leeds fans and a young boy died during the course of it. So should there now be no transfers between the clubs? If so, for how long, forever? Why stop there? Should Leeds ever be allowed to sign any player ever again? Does any player that signs for Leeds become morally tainted, because he hasn't taken account of the fearsome and brutal history of the clubs fans. Actually, I think I would vote for that because I can't stand the bastards.

Over the months I have grown a bit fed up reading about what an awful man Hugo Chavez is, so called lefty rags such as the New Statesman being as guilty as anyone else in this, so three hearty cheers to Johan Hari for this, this and this. Chavez should be grateful that freedom loving yanks have been otherwise engaged for the last few years.

While we are at it, lets hear it for Evo Morales.

Talking of covert offensives
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