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Sterling, Liverpool fans & hate in football

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/football/49235484

Sterling just continues to impress.

To approach the Liverpool fans at the end of Sunday's match, after receiving the usual hate from sections of the crowd, was brave.

To give people gifts, pose for selfies and sign autographs was beautiful.

There were plenty of kids in the crowd. The ones that were there for this unusual scene will have seen that rivals can come together and show kindness. The ones that had left will probably only have heard hateful language to anyone not in a Liverpool shirt.

Last week, I met some friends and their 6 year old boy - a Chelsea fan - told me he hated Man Utd.

'Hated'.

What is it about football that makes people so intolerant towards their rivals? Why is it that people think it's acceptable to shout dogs abuse at players from their seat in the stand?

Why can't rival fans be trusted to sit next to each other?

Even on forums like this, there sometimes seems to be genuine hate amongst rivals - I've experienced it myself. How absurd, that if our fathers had supported our rivals, many of us would have grown up supporting those teams - seeing every incident, every transfer differently no doubt.

If fans that go to games and shout abuse, or people on here, met each other in a work or social situation, they'd behave very differently.

With a young son myself, I am now looking at football as a sport I'm not sure is good for him. Even playing the game at grassroots, you'll hear all sorts of foul language and aggression towards officials - things you just don't hear at rugby, cricket, tennis etc.

What is it about football that brings out so much hate?

Do any of you shout abuse at games and if so, do you do it knowingly in front of young children? Do you teach your children to 'hate' their rivals?

comment by Naby8 (U6997)

posted on 7/8/19

Personally I really like Sterling (if not the way he forced his move) and I genuinely wish our fans would stop booing him; the club has moved on and he seems to have matured into a real role model.

The wider point is one I agree to an extent. I do think there's more hatred in football and I base that on experiences of attending other sports. That's not to say there isn't issues in all sports but football seems to anger in a way few other sports do.

I have a young son and I've thought about whether I'd be happy taking him to football and I am. The simple reason being I attended games as a kid in the mid to late 80s and 90s - the atmosphere in the stadium was just as toxic as today, possibly more so, and I saw it for what it was because I was brought up well. I never engaged with that behaviour or language.

What is different today imo is the ability to anonymously hate outside of the stadium. Most people (some exceptions obviously) are decent people face to face so whilst it used to be almost cathartic vitriol for 90 mins, now that's taken online. As a parent, that concerns me far, far more than atmosphere at the match.

posted on 7/8/19

I suspect you have to a go a long way back and look at social, class and cultural aspects of society to find out exactly why football support is as it is. I would also say that the tribalism is actually one of the reasons that football is the most popular game in the world. People want that and enjoy it. And outside of actual violence, I think it adds to the sport. Hate is thrown around but I can say I hate United. It's not literal. I doubt for many people it is.

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Naby8 (U6997)
posted 26 minutes ago
Personally I really like Sterling (if not the way he forced his move) and I genuinely wish our fans would stop booing him; the club has moved on and he seems to have matured into a real role model.

The wider point is one I agree to an extent. I do think there's more hatred in football and I base that on experiences of attending other sports. That's not to say there isn't issues in all sports but football seems to anger in a way few other sports do.

I have a young son and I've thought about whether I'd be happy taking him to football and I am. The simple reason being I attended games as a kid in the mid to late 80s and 90s - the atmosphere in the stadium was just as toxic as today, possibly more so, and I saw it for what it was because I was brought up well. I never engaged with that behaviour or language.

What is different today imo is the ability to anonymously hate outside of the stadium. Most people (some exceptions obviously) are decent people face to face so whilst it used to be almost cathartic vitriol for 90 mins, now that's taken online. As a parent, that concerns me far, far more than atmosphere at the match.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Interesting read and good points, cheers

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)
posted 25 minutes ago
I suspect you have to a go a long way back and look at social, class and cultural aspects of society to find out exactly why football support is as it is. I would also say that the tribalism is actually one of the reasons that football is the most popular game in the world. People want that and enjoy it. And outside of actual violence, I think it adds to the sport. Hate is thrown around but I can say I hate United. It's not literal. I doubt for many people it is.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Fair point, although football isn't the national sport in many countries... not sure of the answer to this - but is there tribalism in other national sports?

Cricket in India, for example?

"And outside of actual violence, I think it adds to the sport."

Don't really agree with this myself. I think it's a real shame that I need to think twice about taking my son to football matches when he grows up.

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Winston (U16525)
posted 2 minutes ago
comment by Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)
posted 25 minutes ago
I suspect you have to a go a long way back and look at social, class and cultural aspects of society to find out exactly why football support is as it is. I would also say that the tribalism is actually one of the reasons that football is the most popular game in the world. People want that and enjoy it. And outside of actual violence, I think it adds to the sport. Hate is thrown around but I can say I hate United. It's not literal. I doubt for many people it is.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Fair point, although football isn't the national sport in many countries... not sure of the answer to this - but is there tribalism in other national sports?

Cricket in India, for example?

"And outside of actual violence, I think it adds to the sport."

Don't really agree with this myself. I think it's a real shame that I need to think twice about taking my son to football matches when he grows up.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I started taking my son last season, who was 5 then. Unfortunately this was to Chelsea (in laws season tickets plus corporate from work). Explaining context is the key. There were vocal people around him and there was swearing but you have to contextualize it that football support brings out passion in people and that people say things because they care about what happens. Explaining why football matters so much is the hard bit.

posted on 7/8/19

Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)

Interesting

I think you're right and of course, parents have a big responsibility in not allowing that to spill into their lives.

But for me it's less about the swearing and more about the hate. It may seem harmless, but I don't think it's right that 5, 6, 7 year olds have such feelings to rival teams.

comment by Naby8 (U6997)

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Winston (U16525)
posted 1 minute ago
Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)

Interesting

I think you're right and of course, parents have a big responsibility in not allowing that to spill into their lives.

But for me it's less about the swearing and more about the hate. It may seem harmless, but I don't think it's right that 5, 6, 7 year olds have such feelings to rival teams.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

This might sound harsh on your friends but if any child of 6 years old is saying they 'hate' another team then I hold the parents are 100% responsible.

I experienced toxic atmospheres at that age and I witnessed hooliganism (albeit I was 12 at that point) but I had it explained to me why that happened at football and why hatred of others (football or beyond) was wrong.

posted on 7/8/19

Naby8 (U6997)

I agree.

But these are decent people - that's what makes it so bizarre.

One of them openly refers to Arsenal as 'scuum' in front of his wife's parents... who are Arsenal fans!

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Winston (U16525)
posted 15 minutes ago
Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)

Interesting

I think you're right and of course, parents have a big responsibility in not allowing that to spill into their lives.

But for me it's less about the swearing and more about the hate. It may seem harmless, but I don't think it's right that 5, 6, 7 year olds have such feelings to rival teams.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Absolutely. There is no way he would ever say he hated another team, or anything to be honest. Any kid that age saying that has heard it from elsewhere and certainly doesn't feel that.

posted on 7/8/19

comment by Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)
posted 2 minutes ago
comment by Winston (U16525)
posted 15 minutes ago
Greatteamswinit4times- a terrible enemy (U6008)

Interesting

I think you're right and of course, parents have a big responsibility in not allowing that to spill into their lives.

But for me it's less about the swearing and more about the hate. It may seem harmless, but I don't think it's right that 5, 6, 7 year olds have such feelings to rival teams.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Absolutely. There is no way he would ever say he hated another team, or anything to be honest. Any kid that age saying that has heard it from elsewhere and certainly doesn't feel that.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, fair point - they probably don't even know what hate is at that age.

But, slippery slope and all that.

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