1 February 2011

The God delusion

The more I learn about died in the wool football fans the more I love all other groups of people. Except one. Watching Liverpool fans burning a Fernando Torres shirt last night because he outrageously didn't fancy playing in the Championship, I couldn't help but feel I'd seen this supreme level of intolerance and blind ignorance before somewhere.

As far as I can see, the only other walk of life where enormous groups of people are as fanatically partisan and hypocritical and go about their burning of things without even an ounce of irony is the increasingly disturbing and baffling world of monotheist religion...Islam more recently though than the other two.

Football fans believe only their players are Gods. But only when those players are wearing the colours of their club. There's a chap in Liverpool as we speak who changed his name to Fernando Torres. A grown man too and a father! He was unable to even consider the idea that Torres might not feel the same passion and undying love for Liverpool football club as he has always held, and therefore was unable to accept that he might one day leave to play for another club and he would look like an even bigger berk than he already did.

In many ways football fans are even more fanatical than religious types. I mean at least these religions are built on a couple thousand years of beliefs. Even if they are Chinese Whispers, you can appreciate how any sense of reality has been unable to penetrate the indoctrination into these religions generation after generation.

Football however is only a little over a hundred years old and yet fans have already been able to reach the same levels of delusional self-importance and are capable of wishing a fate on rival fans and ex-players equally as violent and unbridled as any jihad.

In fact on Merseyside and Tyneside especially, there's even an equivalent apostasy. Torres has already received death threats for having the gall to pursue new challenges in the game at a rival club. The threats received by Steven Gerrard were evidently more persuasive as he decided to stay. The Royal Engineers will be opening Andy Carroll's mail for the next few weeks also.

It is in many ways easier to buy into the idea that God chose a 7th century version of Del Boy to be his messenger than any premises on which football fanaticism are built. So I think really now football fans,...as religious zealots become the subject of ridicule by more and more people and religion becomes almost irrelevant in any real sense in the country, isn't it about time you all just jolly well grew up and stopped being so silly? A bit of perspective is all I'm saying. Arsenal are just better no matter what happens.

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