Why It's Time To Quit Your Football Club And Find A Team That Deserves You

Sportswashing depends on fans just going with the flow
07:00, 22 Feb 2023

Once upon a time Newcastle United were the Premier League’s free-scoring, devil-may-care entertainers under Kevin Keegan. They wowed the country with their attacking football and their ability to unite a city with the way in which they gave its working-class residents something to be so proud of each weekend. They might not have won trophies, but boy did they play football.

Over in the north-west, Manchester City were the club of greats like Rodney Marsh, Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell and Francis Lee. They were the upstarts who appealed to Mancunians with the street-smart glint of the underdog in their eyes while the rest of the nation were distracted by their bigger neighbours United.

Wind forward to 2023 and Manchester City are the Premier League champions, as they have been six times in the past decade, and are within punching distance of toppling the current league leaders. Newcastle United go to Wembley for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final hoping to win the first of many trophies in their new era of untold riches.


At exciting times for many of the two clubs’ fans, it is understandable if others are not totally on board with what is occurring in the name of getting three points on a Saturday afternoon. City’s Abu Dhabu United Group owners are wedded to a state which has human rights violations stacked against its name, with Newcastle’s Saudi owners having similar cases to answer.

While the exact nature of the City takeover in 2008 escaped the attentions of many at the time, Newcastle’s change of ownership 18 months ago has helped to drag the 21st Century moral quandary of the everyday football fan into the front of the mind. No longer is the biggest question whether to wear the current shirt or the retro favourite to the match, rather it is what you can do to enjoy the football given the very legitimate concerns over your club’s ownership.

Manchester City and Newcastle are not the only ones with moral dilemmas, though. Arsenal, the team currently keeping City out of top spot, play in the Emirates Stadium – sponsored by the airline of the same name which is owned by the government of Dubai, like Abu Dhabi an emirate of the UAE. And Manchester United, the giant of an institution stood between Newcastle and League Cup glory, is potentially about to be bought by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, a member of the Qatari Royal Family and son of Qatar’s former prime minister.

The tangled web being weaved by nation states and sponsors thereof leaves the top of the modern game awash with controversy. And the reason there has been no open revolt against these people sullying the good name of our biggest sporting behemoths is that they just expect football fans to accept it and crack on. And do you know what? That’s exactly what we’ve seen happening.

City have never been more popular with a worldwide audience and their average home attendances haven’t been this high since the 1930s, and Newcastle’s gates have shot up since Mike Ashley sold up to the Saudi Public Investment Fund. It’s like football has fans over a barrel. “Well I can’t stop now, I’ve been going since I was a kid.” Yes, you can.

Wimbledon fans whose local club was snatched from under their noses didn’t just hold their hands up and book a 12-month travelcard to Milton Keynes, they set up their own phoenix outfit. Manchester United supporters opposed to the Glazer family takeover in 2005 set up FC United of Manchester.

Other fans on an individual level have turned their backs. Crewe Alexandra regulars appalled by their club’s enabling of the sexual predator Barry Bennell renounced their fandom. Supporters of Palermo and other outfits taken under the wing of the City Football Group have waved goodbye.

There are teams on a local level who could do with your support. Clubs with the sort of down-to-earth values your Premier League lot used to have. If you don’t like the fact City have sold their soul, try Curzon Ashton for the community feel. Done with Newcastle? Go back the lads at Wallsend Boys Club.


Are Arsenal, or Real Madrid, or AC Milan, or Benfica tainted by their reliance on sponsorship cash from the UAE? Then stay home. Spend your afternoons with your family or head to a local game where football is football and not a state v state battle for bragging rights over which sportswashers do it better.

The old saying used to go that you could change your wife, your politics, and even your religion, but you could never change your football team. But if your club has altered beyond all recognition, then why the hell not? It’s basically not the same club anymore anyway. We are not slaves to royal families from distant countries whose citizens are flogged for nicking a couple of pence here and there. We are Joe Public from Manchester, or Newcastle, or London, or Birmingham, with tongues and thoughts and morals of our own.

If your spouse betrayed you, treated you like dirt, expecting you to just get on with it and stay with them every time, you’d be off in a heartbeat. So why let your football club treat you that way? Most of the bigger football clubs haven’t wanted us for years, only our money. Well now the state-sponsored ones are only after our approval.

So next time you jump on social media ready to go into bat for them after their latest controversy, stop and think. Would they look after you if you got into beef? If the answer is no, leave them.

Go find a local club which actually deserves your support.


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