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Time to Reclaim Football

After Wembley on Sunday, there has been a lot of comparison between the behaviour of the players in the “New England” of Gareth Southgate’s team and the behaviour of the ‘old England’ hooligans.

The "New England" of Gareth Southgate's team has tapped into deep moral beliefs that the people of this land have always held dear: respect, social equality, looking after your mates, hard work. These have always been our values. The 'new' bit is a national football team where these values are publicly and proudly displayed, that's why we like them as people.

Unfortunately, the behaviour of the racists, abusers, hooligans who also wear the 'three lions' too often get to represent "football". It is time to reclaim what football means in our society. I am fortunate enough to be Chair of Beacon Hill Rovers. In two weeks time, we celebrate our Centenary. The Club was formed by soldiers returning from the horrors of WW1. They would certainly have recognised Gareth Southgate's team values as would the Club's football suffragettes of the '40s and 50's who defied FA bans and played in a Beacon Hill Women's Team. These values are not new in football, those have always been there; the positive messages just get drowned out.

So on behalf of the current Beacon Hill footballers, from our under 6s to our over 60s, our Men, Women, boys and girls, please share this:

You who are racists, abusers, hooligans are NOT "football".

We who believe in respect, social equality, looking after our mates, hard work: “WE ARE FOOTBALL”.


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