Sunday, January 4, 2009

Response to Kevin Myers

In January 2009 Kevin Myers wrote an article in The Irish Independent entitled Huge Areas of Britain Have become Foreign Colonies in which he discusses the consequences of a possible future Liverpool team consisting of Africans managed by a Brazilian. In response, I would say that on the football pitch timing is very important. However, as a football fan, when I see a beautiful goal, it matters not at all to me whether it was scored by a player who left Africa just a few years ago, or by a Brazilian whose ancestors left Africa on slave ships a few centuries ago or indeed by a Caucasian whose ancestors left the Rift Valley a long time ago. The ancestors of all players came from Africa, but the timing is not important.

Football fans care passionately about the colour of the jersey worn by the player who has just scored, but they really don't care about the colour of the skin beneath the jersey.

Professional football clubs count the number of supporters that attend per game. In the club that I played in, we'd count the number of games between each supporter. Sometimes we would have to wait for ten games until at last one kindly wife would show up. One of the big differences between my team ( Wandsworth Celtic) and Liverpool was the elitism of the players. Top class footballers attract huge attention. Fans will pay to watch Liverpool, I would need to pay people to watch me play.

For the last few decades Tranmere Rovers have had more English players than Liverpool. But every week Liverpudlians vote with their feet and go along to Anfield in much greater numbers than to Prenton Park. You may ask "what's Prenton Park?", to which I reply that's my point exactly.

A city or country is made up of its inhabitants, whether they be recently arrived or otherwise. So when I moved to London as an economic migrant worker, in a small way, I became a part of what London was. If the skin colour of the population changes, then the fact still remains, that London is full of Londoners. What has changed is what it means to be a Londoner. The grand-children of Jamaican immigrants who have never lived outside of London are certainly not foreigners in their own city.

People do lose touch with their past. However would it matter if one Londoner did not know that his Jamaican great-grand father fought during the second world war against the Romanian great-grand father of his next door neighbour?

No comments:

Post a Comment