Taking sides (3 of 3)

July 14, 2011

To me, the partisan element of football is in itself part of the game's beauty, part of its aesthetics. The swaying Kop of the 1970s, the old Roker Roar, the colour and majesty of the Nou Camp or the passion of the San Siro - all defined by that unfaltering collective belief in the supporter's own team.

I'll enjoy watching any two teams playing, but I find it almost impossible not to take sides: the team that is playing the best football or that has just hit the bar twice; or, at amateur level, the team with the least obnoxious dugout might get my support.

Perhaps this is part of the problem in English football - our inability to separate the pure from the partisan. As Jose Mourinho once said: "In England, you teach your kids how to win. In Portugal and Spain they teach their kids how to play."

Simon Buttenshaw, via www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

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