I EVENTUALLY got to my feet when Forest fans shouted ‘stand up if you hate Derby’ at yesterday’s highly emotional football match between the traditional East Midlands rivals.
That was because I wanted to see what was going on rather than any irrational loathing for a football club a few miles down the A52.
You see, I honestly DON’T hate Derby County, I merely LOVE Nottingham Forest…..
Anyone who has lived as long as my 56 years who says he or she ‘hates’ a football team probably needs to get a life or a mental health assessment.
What I may ask have Derby County ever done to me?
The answer is: win a fair few games against my beloved Forest. If I ‘hated’ every team that has done that I’d spend my whole life in a continual frenzy!
Although my family comes from Nottingham – hence my allegiance to Forest – I’ve lived in Derby for a few months without going completely out of my mind in disgust and even spent a few Saturday afternoons reporting events at Pride Park. I’m whispering it but I’ve got a few friends who support The Rams.
My point is this: sporting rivalry and banter is great, without it yesterday’s 90 minutes would have been a total bore. But hatred? Nah, that’s another silly, potentially criminal, level.
Let’s consider the weekend’s events.
Forest fans threw coins at the Derby supporters with one Reds fan pointing out that they’d hit a child who is the son of one of his friends.
Meanwhile the hatred of West Ham supporters towards their own board – the very people who help fund their team – spilled over into a pitch invasion during which players and officials could very easily have been injured.
Also former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher was goaded so strongly after their 2-1 defeat by rivals Manchester United that he spat at the offending person.
All three are the results of hatred in thought then being put into action.
But, in the cold light of day, all three actions are plain crazy.
Put all these folks involved in these unsavoury – quasi criminal – incidents into the same room and get them to talk rationally and they’d probably all end up as friends.
I find it interesting that in times when expressing anything less than total support for Zionists or celebrating gay marriage is a hate crime, why do the authorities turn a blind eye to so much hatred at football stadia?
The answer, I feel, lies in an actual encouragement of ‘divide and rule’ to ensure we know which side we’re on when it comes to more important battles.
The working classes can ‘hate’ Forest or Derby or Manchester United because it prevents people from uniting.
It’s the same in other areas of life.
The last General Election showed we’re basically either Tory or Labour. In 2016, we were either Remain or Leave. In each case, people commonly verbally abuse those who hold the opposite point of view.
Whilst we are unable to accept we might be wrong and that others are fully entitled to their views, we are fair game for military service.
We happily take on board the idea that people from other countries are our ‘enemies’ and back our ‘team’.
Maybe, if we can just begin to see those in different camps as fellow human beings rather than deadly enemies, our view of the wider world would change for the better too…..