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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The sound of the crowd

I would be interested to see the Premiership's plan to play a number of games in foreign cities come to fruition for at least one season. I would like to see the whole circus (players, managers, media, sponsors and wealthy supporters) pack its tents and head off to Tokyo or New York. (Obviously it won't be Nairobi or Mumbai, because nobody's interested in taking the game to those supporters.)
I would like to see it because I think they would find that they'd left the key element of their world-beating "product" at home. They'd set sail without the thing that makes the Premiership madhouse work as a spectacle and that's the crowd: the howling, hydra-headed hate machine that is Anfield or White Hart Lane or Upton Park in full cry as twenty-two hired hands scrap over the bones of ancient emnities. That's what makes the Premiership. It isn't Nike or Cristiano Ronaldo. It's the fact that the loathing is in our blood, as is the loving.