If people think there was a halcyon time when faceless men sat in boardrooms striving to make the game more accessible to the common man, and placed community before profit, then they’re sadly deluded and have scant grasp on the history of the game.
But there was a better time, and it has fvck all to do with danger or the hardness of fans - the 80s were seriously shit for an away fan looking to enjoy a match.
There was a time when you could arrive at the ground and afford to go through the turnstiles, when the game kicked off at 3 every Saturday, and you could stand. The people who ruined this weren’t sitting in board rooms, they were throwing darts from one pen into another.
Hooliganism killed the game because every normal thinking person in society knew it was an abhorrent way to behave. The violence and boorish behaviour was toxic within society and those who hanker for that as some kind of return to football’s soul are either challenged or just fvcking dim.
I love and hate fan villages, half and half scarves and clappers in equal measure - but then I’ve always been a football tourist. I’ve travelled to see foreign teams I admired, I’ve gone to games of the local sides wherever I’ve lived, I loved that shit.
Football is what it is, it evolves. Hankering for a golden era is like pretending the 1960s was best for music or that everywhere in England used to be in competition to be used as a picture on top of a chocolate box. There are things in the present I dislike, there’ll be aspects in the future I’ll loathe, but I still get enjoyment from watching ‘the game’. And, for me, my greatest enjoyment would come from watching us when we’re shit again. Sorry.