When it comes to football, I’m a traditionalist. I prefer to use that word as opposed to old-fashioned or stuck in the past!
I do have the When Saturday Comes produced “Bitter and twisted old fashioned football fan” t-shirt however. It goes well with my “Against Modern Football” scarf, acquired from Holland.
Scotland is a wonderful country because it has tradition and history. Football is a wonderful sport for the same reasons.
That’s not to say that certain aspects of the game cannot be changed as the years pass. There’s a whole generation or two now who would find it hard to believe that there never used to be substitutes. Three points for a win took a little bit of getting used to. I still don’t like playoffs in a small league of ten teams but on the whole they’ve added end of season excitement and interest for a lot of teams.
So whilst some things may change over time, often for the better when you sit down and think about them, there are certain aspects of football and a football clubs that should never be messed with. That’s where the tradition and history aspect should always win the day.
Now you can debate what those forbidden fruits are and where lines should be drawn, but for me, and I think most fans, two major restrictive items are your club’s name and club colours.
East Fife are East Fife and we play in black and gold.
That said, and this will be sacrilegious to many, especially on the AFTN forum, but I really don’t care if we have white shorts or not! Actually I don’t care if we play in stripes, just as long as it’s a black and gold strip. The stripes do look fantastic on the pitch, just not so much when you’re walking down the street in them. Maybe that just says more about how some of our supporters look!
But, yup, we are the East Fife and we are the black and gold. And we can perhaps count our blessings that we have a new owner that knows that and wouldn’t mess with that. Others, as we all have been reading about these past few months, are not so lucky.
Football fans should really be careful what they ask for. We all want our team to do well. To achieve success and the magical happy times. Dreams of top flight football even. But if the TV show “Once Upon A Time” has taught us anything, it’s that magic comes at a price.
As we’re unfortunately beginning to see on a far too regular basis, rich, foreign owners come in, splash the cash and have little regard to the history, the traditions and the values of football clubs, many of which are over a century old.
Should you expect it? It’s not really their club after all. They didn’t grow up with it in their hearts. It wasn’t inbred in their family. They just want the quick excitement of mixing it at the top table and in many cases buy success.
And if you don’t like it? Well, tough. It’s their money that got the club to the level they’re at and if you’re not happy with that, then you can move on. That seems to be the attitude. Except it’s always the fans that are left when they then move on after they get bored or the success stops coming or doesn’t come at all.
The goings on at Hull City and Cardiff City should be a concern to every single football fan. If their owners continue to get away with their disregard for clubs’ core values, then it’s a slippery slope for many other footballs clubs and fans after that.
Vincent Tan’s actions at Cardiff have been unbelievable. The change of strip colour and crest was disgraceful and although the fans protested, far too many were swayed by the lure of that golden egg of the Premiership. The further treatment of Malky Mackay then became abhorrent.
Assem Allam’s plans at Hull are equally as abhorrent. Hull City have existed as such for 109 years, but as everyone in the world of football now knows, if Allam gets his way they will become Hull Tigers. Who cares about century old tradition?
Well at least the fans do. Locally, nationally and globally it would appear. Let’s just hope that the football authorities act properly and ensure that his change and any future such proposals are quickly shot down.
It’s maybe fun calling East Fife the Methil Milan or Methil Magyars, but you really wouldn’t want that as the club’s name if we were taken over by a rich Italian or Hungarian! Would you?
The English Premiership may seem far removed from Bayview or Station Park or Stair Park, but it just takes one person to buy a Scottish club and have scant regard to the traditions and you can see the same here.
Take an interest in what is happening and pledge your support through online petitions or any other way you can. Help keep the tradition in football. It should always mean something to you and to future generations.