It’s the classic tradition. You get up on a Saturday morning, go to the pub, get a bit tipsy while catching up with your mates before staggering into the ground just before kick off.
It’s a staple of the game for many fans and the tradition hasn’t changed for years, with the only shock to the system being when it was banned to drink alcohol while on the stands. But to be quite frank, it’s something I’ve always hated about the sport.
Now let’s get this straight, I’m not opposed to a drink before the game. I’ve spent many an hour in a pub or bar before going to matches, though I will admit I’m not a massive drinker unless the owner of this web site gets involved in some way. And the odd pint before a match, fine. It’s some people’s favourite drink, why shouldn’t they have it? I’m not even opposed to the recent campaign to bring pints back to the stands, though I remember being at a beamback of a game where that was allowed and having to spend the rest of the night washing beer out of my hair following a dramatic equaliser. I imagine that will get tiring a few weeks in.
No, my issue are the people who decide to get blind drunk, some how get into the stadium even though by the law of the land that is illegal and then decide to be louts and getting overly aggressive anytime a pass is misplaced.
These are the people who have about 10 pints in the pub, manage to get into the stadium on time by sheer luck rather than any actual skill then for some reason instead of taking their seat, decide to have a pint or two at the bar inside the ground. Now some will decide that going to their seat is a bit too much effort, probably because any attempt going up the stairs will see them fall right back down, will decide to buy more pints at the bar and watch the game on the small TV screen present in the concourse. Then when that TV gets turned off at the 80th minute, they will get inexplicably angry at the stewards before leaving the stadium.
Of course, many of these drunks won’t stick in the concourse, where they are at least out of the way and not bothering anyone else, and will actually decide to use their ticket and eventually stumble to their seat at 3:20pm, make everyone get up and maybe eventually make it to where they are meant to be. Of course then, someone on the pitch will have made a mistake and the drunk will think that man missing a tackle was not just a mere mistake, but an insult on his life, and that the man in question deserves a long tirade of why he is terrible and is not worth the £30 ticket price he has spent.
Now if you are lucky, the man will then sit down and you might be able to enjoy the rest of the game. There’ll probably be a few murmurs of agreement or disagreement, but everything will go on as normal until someone else has made a mistake. However if you are unlucky, another drunk will also pop up and this one, actually disagrees with the other drunk. They will then argue for the longest time before a steward decides that they should probably do something. It will be rinse and repeat then for the rest of the game, so enjoy your game now.
Now as I reach the end, I suppose I should do a disclaimer. Not every drunk is like this and the amount of alcohol needed to reach this stage of being a moron varies for each person. But this is what the drinking culture around football encourages. If you decide you just want to see the match, and especially if you decide to take the long trip to an away game, and not do much else other than pick up a burger from one of the trucks outside, you are the weirdo. You’re the outsider. The guy whose such a regular at Wetherspoons they know his name? He’s the typical football fan, he’s the one this culture demands you emulate. Yes, it might make you sing a bit louder when your team is winning, but it also can lead to the people around you having their time ruined when you decide to go on a rant when the right winger’s cross goes out for a throw in.
If you want to get drunk, stay in the pub or go to a nightclub. Not to a football stadium.