The Ties That Bind

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Sport
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

They say you can choose your friends but not your family.  That there is a certain level of control you can exert when you select those with whom you would wish to share your hopes and dreams; a level of influence that is beyond you when fate goes about dictating the genetic line to which you will belong.

However, when it comes to the disparate individuals that come together in the name of support, under the collective banner of fandom, those particular lines of delineation can become quite blurred; the definition of what is friend or family becoming unclear.

Whether you are a member of the Red Sox Nation, a Kopite to the core or stand together to try to diffuse the racial taunts of opposition fans, as do those who follow Spurs – football fans for generations have felt a calling; a sense of belonging that many in fact trace back to the time of their birth.

Whether it be a conscious choice of affiliation or one born through osmosis – football fans consider fellow supporters family, friends and so much more.

Through times of trial or tribulation, in times of joy or hope – the ties that bind one supporter to another can serve to provide a sense of fulfilment, understanding and acceptance that make the hardships easier to endure; the moments of ecstasy far exceed those that came before.

So as we look back on the 22nd anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster; a tragic event that to this day binds supporters of Liverpool FC together as a family fighting for justice,  I ask for all members of that extended football family to watch United this weekend, to watch David Tennant bring to life another tragic moment in football, a heart-breaking event that bound another fan-base together in their own cause.

For although one group of supporters may have no love for another, we can all surely understand the pain and hurt United fans have endured; a pain and sense of loss that no family deserves.

So, just like those distant cousins you never see and perhaps would rather not acknowledge – we should all put aside our divisions this weekend, our animosity for our footballing foes.  We should watch United – we should reach out to their fan-base as they remember their loss.

Because, even though it may pain us to admit it, even though it is an association we might not choose or would rather ignore – as fans of football, we belong to the same extended family after all.

  1. Ajjam Isared says:

    Hi Mark.

    As a life-long Red, and almost as long a hater of Man Utd, I agree with you that these occasions are where this rivalry can be put aside.

    Hillsborough and Munich were not just footballing tragedies – they were human tragedies.

    PS. Can you please email me at the address given here, thanks.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read 🙂 . I only noticed today that you had left messages on The Kop (I hadn’t been on there in a few weeks and hadn’t checked that particular email account).

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