Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Football. Isn't it...you know...Giggsy Wiggsy...

As regular readers will know I'm more of a cricket man but I do enjoy watching football and there is little to compare with the UEFA Champions League, surely the greatest club competition in existence, only 50 years old but with great myths and narratives: Real Madrid of the 50s, the Munich disaster and United's 68 win, Celtic, Ajax, Bayern, the great AC Milan side of the 1990s and, of course, Liverpool. A match like Liverpool v Barcelona, is more than football. Bound up in Liverpool is a tradition of working class life, now on the way out; a tradition of success and tragedy, a claim to international greatness. Bound up in Barcelona is regional and national identity, a way of life, politics, history and a method of football. Bringing these diverse strands together is what club football does very well and the Champions League in particular manages to mix with a kind of generally healthy nationalism and, rather more rarely, a European outlook. The European Cup predates the Treaty of Rome. Having said that about its nationalism, it has not always been this way, which brings me back to where I started. The competition we have today has been forged, as well as built by its past, including its worst moment: Heysel. Some have learned more than others from that and it is good to see English clubs, now nearly a generation away from that moment, reclaiming their places at the heart of a tough but often inspired competition. I'm no Liverpool fan but I'm delighted for them and I will be supporting all the UK clubs tonight, with an especially hopeful eye on Celtic.

4 comments:

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Well one day Birmingham City will play in Europe.
I hope.
Till then the highlight for me is watching Rangers get knocked out.
C'mon Celtic!!!

CityUnslicker said...

I am not supporting Chelsea; destroyers of the game.

james higham said...

You certainly make a convincing case here for the football, TD.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

td, you have again made a matter of sport interesting to me!