I’ve endured some strange things supporting Sunderland: games called off for snow; beach ball deflected winners; Jack Rodwell – none come close to the current climate, in the wake of Covid-19, and an interesting question has risen to the surface: just how much does football actually matter?
To give it some context, regular discussions have been taking place amongst supporters with a multitude of positions being established. Some feel that it is not important in the slightest, and that the current situation requires all thought. Others have a simpler view – I haven’t really thought about it.
Contrastingly, a lot of fans are at a loss since the ceasing of football activity. Some are hopelessly clinging on to the German or Belarusian top divisions, with others desperate for the return of their team’s matches. There is a sea of discussion regarding PPG, voiding leagues and empty stadiums, side by side with talk of infection, illness, and sadly death.
Health is paramount and should be a massive focus to us all, however why do we have to forget about the things that we enjoy? Are we being made to think like this, or is it just a case of some supporters generally not having as much love for the game as is suggested?
There is a strong public feeling that we should be forgoing our pastimes, and purely focusing on health with particular emphasis on the prevention of Covid-19 – should we accept this notion, however?
Our hobbies and interests are part of what makes us who we are and expressing remorse for their absence should not result in scolding from others. Football, for many, is what the week is all about. You work day in, day out and then get that release come match day – last minute winners, camaraderie in the stands.
This is what they live for, and I count myself among their ranks.
Perhaps this could be linked to a growing trend of match-goers that have a passing interest in the actual match played on a Saturday (insert Sky TV change here), and prefer the pub more. The poor football we have all become far too accustomed to, plays are part, as well as the growing rich/poor divide in football.
People are switching off, and maybe a pandemic has just accelerated a natural progression for some, with others only holding a limited interest already anyway.
We should care about our club. Even those with a fleeing interest must do, considering something got them to attend originally.
It is the framing of a lot of our lives and those who have gone before us. Football is disillusioning many, and I think that has led to the position we have now with many feeling football is a mere trifle. In Sunderland’s case, catastrophically poor decisions on and off the pitch has forced the issue, though people still care enough to at least complain and cling on to the hope that the good times will one day return.
What is clear is that football certainly matters from a discussion perspective, regardless of the position you hold. However, the question remains – does football actually matter?
There is no simple answer, and the importance of football is a labyrinth of debate and deliberation. One thing is certain though, as far as this author is concerned – as long as Sunderland is here, football will matter.