Coming home from our game on Saturday – where we had just missed two penalties and the chance to go top of the league – I couldn’t shake the disappointment from my mind and kept discussing it for the whole trip home and then continued repeating my views to my wife into the late hours of the evening.
Eventually, I echoed similar words to those reputedly spoken by the great Liverpool Manager, Bill Shankly: ‘that to some people football is more important than life and death.’
There was silence for a while and the reply was a bit of a showstopper for me: ‘Well, you have always put football before our family.’
I will admit that this has been thrown at me before!
But with the Covid-19 pandemic and more lockdown thinking time, I have to say that I have a slightly new perspective on the importance of football, as this disruption has given me the chance to take a step back from the beautiful game and to think about the real importance of life. And I’m sure a great number of our fans have also had time to reflect in a similar way.
I’ve just looked up the actual Shankly quote and did the great man really say: ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death? I believe that It is much more important than that.’
I’m sure he did, but he didn’t have Covid-19 to weigh it up against!
This pandemic has been an opportunity for all of us to gain a renewed perspective on football. As much as it is a massive part of our lives and will always be so important to me personally, it is after all just a game and a business.
If we all had to choose between the game and one of our family staying Covid-free, I know what we would all choose. We could all live without the game if we had to but I’m not sure about losing a loved one!
We have got some massive decisions to make soon as we all strive to find a way to survive through these difficult times and I am convinced that we have enough good people working tirelessly to find a way to get the country and football back to where it used to be.
Fans want to go back to see live matches, we see that from those who came to watch the 23s on Saturday or have taken up groundhopping since September but my gut feeling is some will only come back if they feel safe – so many may not return until there is a vaccine or very stringent measures in place.
In the meantime, it is likely that our games will end up being streamed, which is one vital ingredient for the survival of clubs like ours. And here can I make a shameless plug for the Stones TV offer which I urge you to support at this time.
So, now that I have put my thoughts out there that life is more important than football, I will wait for everyone to get on the forum and shout me down.
I would like to remind all of our supporters that we do have to find a way between us to come up with a formula to make sure that we get through this crisis and make sure that Maidstone United Football Club is well and truly here and in place for when everything returns to normal. Do email me any comments or suggestions on that front.