A well-known local broadcaster recently announced, with tongue rather insincerely in cheek, that all vegetarians should be rounded up and shot. There was no place in football, according to him, for vegetarianism.
Strong views from a man who considers himself every inch a football fan, most of all a true blue County fan.
There are lots of “isms” that don’t have any place in football -such as racism, sexism, hooliganism…………………………………….but vegetarianism? Please, get a grip!!!!!
People have repeatedly said to me, “You don’t look like a football fan”. I also don’t look like a teacher but taught successfully for many years before my retirement. If I don’t look like a football fan then the question begs to be asked, “What does a typical football fan look like?” Is there a list of features and requirements necessary to be considered acceptable to the crowd? Maybe being a vegetarian is my big problem.
Even though I call myself a vegetarian, I am really a bit of a fraud in that department as well. I do eat fish so a really strict vegan would eject me from the fold of true vegetarianism. Roy Keane would also be rather sniffy with me because I admit to enjoying a prawn sandwich occasionally. Guess I don’t fit snugly anywhere.
I’d like to think that not looking like the sort of person who does the things I like to do presents more of a positive challenge for me and allows me the freedom to expose the ridiculous notion of being “typical”.
Last season, the local press delighted in finding any excuse to ridicule the club and its fans. They insultingly announced that, according to the results of a survey, Stockport County fans were the most overweight in the UK. I felt this was all part of kicking a club when it was down. County was, for every City and United fan, an easy target. As well as making bad jokes about the football, they could now make fun of the fans’ waistlines.
Too many pies and burgers, maybe? Possibly for some.
However, I would be the first to stand up for any fan’s right to enjoy traditional matchday cuisine if that’s what he or she chose to eat. What leaves me hot under the collar is the clannish attitude of some who stubbornly maintain that you can’t be a real football fan if you don’t eat the things we eat. Stubbornly hanging on to etched-in habits can go a bit too far sometimes. Nostalgia and pride in the history of your club is all very well but not when it seems to create a barrier to change.
Can any club afford attitudes of this type today? Certainly not. Survival depends upon getting more folk through the gates, more paying folk who don’t necessarily look or act like your traditional fan. That’s why I think the matchday experience at County should change to allow future fans more freedom to be “untypical”, including making choices on what food they eat. Money-bags clubs like City are already offering a diverse range of dishes on match days and have found that many fans are enjoying trying something new. The meat pie brigade are still a strong presence and long may they reign but new fans will emerge, hopefully, from every walk of life and our own club should be working towards the position of offering families and individuals a choice between both a traditional and an alternative menu with healthy options.
At the moment I am quite happy sitting in the Main Stand with my lentil pie amidst a sea of meat pies. I do look forward to the day when I will be able to buy my lentil pie from County catering but until then I will, no doubt, represent to some, vegetarianism rearing its ugly head at County!!!! Quel horreur!!!!!