a face in the crowd

So, LilSis2 (who's here for a week before heading back up north to hole herself up in SmallTownMaine all summer), IntLaw and I headed over to Harp and Fiddle yesterday to watch the Liverpool-AC Milan match.

The least said about the result, the better. So, I will talk about the people instead. Now, the British media had been reporting how the Greek media focused only on the negative potential of British fans travelling overseas. The aftermath has gotten ugly with UEFA blaming Liverpool fans for pre-match chaos. But, read this (from the Guardian, which isn't much of a football-supporting newspaper in general):

While hundreds of Liverpool fans with forged tickets got into the ground, many with genuine ones were turned away and sprayed with tear gas by riot police.

I wasn't there. I don't know if this did actually happen. But, wouldn't anyone be rather miffed at that?

The UEFA bloke, though, was having none of that:

"Liverpool fans are responsible for the problems before, during and after the game," he said. "Unfortunately in Britain it is the behaviour."

Well, not really. Granted the English fans were known for hooliganism in the past couple of decades but that has been well under control lately. Compared with Spain (racist comments by supporters against players from one's own team), Italy and even Germany, things have been fairly calm in England in the past decade.

But, notice how this doesn't much matter when people are trying to make sense of things. England fans = hooligans = "it is the behaviour" = it's the norm.

Getting back to my viewing--the place we were watching had about 60-70 blokes and about less than 10 women (counting LilSis2 and me). Most of the (other) women were in a mixed-gender group and were fairly sedate. It was rather interesting because this was the same place where I'd watched the World Cup Cricket final. At that time, the crowd was more mixed in terms of gender and age while this lot seemed more geographically-diverse. There were Australians, Italians, Danes, locals, East/Southeast Asian folks and the usual Brits and Irish, just based on a few accents ringing out.

I guess I had some point to this: Oh, yes, the geographical diversity at the local pub reflecting the popularity of football worldwide.

But, really, no matter how much I try to make this experience seem better, it sucked. Liverpool bloody well lost. Maybe next year, they'll do better.

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