Ref! On supporting your local team

The candid thoughts of former Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.


Evening lads. So, yes, FA Cup hotting up, as you say, Dave. Well, actually I don’t know if that is the right expression. It’s coming to the end, but I can’t say I’m particularly excited, are you? Palace and United in the final?

Trouble is, we’re spoilt these days. With the Champions League, the FA Cup has become a minor competition, hasn’t it? Even though Manchester United are pleased to be in the final, it’s kind of a consolation prize and I’m sure they would rather be safely in the hat for playing Bayern and Barca next season. There was a time when winning the Cup, as we used to call it, was a big deal, but now it’s only a big deal for smaller clubs and for eight-year-olds supporting the big boys.

I agree, Dave, it’s unfair, but if you remember, it was United that started it when they declined to take part a few years ago, when was it?

2005, 2006, Baz? Sounds about right. And that was all to do with taking part in the World Club Championship, which is a mickey mouse thing if ever there was one. But it’s a money-spinner, and that’s all that matters to some people these days.

Quite honestly, I don’t like the way the game is going globally-speaking. Spanish football on British TV, who gives a toss? Well I know a lot of people do, but what I mean is they shouldn’t. They should be supporting their own teams, Plymouth Argyle and Stockport County and Reading, but half of them have to claim affiliation with Man U or Chelsea, and then you’ll see them wearing a Barcelona shirt. Got to be associated with teams that win things. It’s all wrong, Baz, don’t you agree? If you grew up in Stoke on Trent you support Stoke City, you don’t switch to Spurs because Harry Redknapp is there and they look like they’re on the verge of something.

Cheers, Gary. Bottle of San Miguel, please. Yes I know it’s Spanish. I’m just drinking it once, not getting married to it.

Yes, a mate of mine did that. Not Stoke, Ipswich. He was fine with his birthright in the 70s when they were doing well, but give him a couple of barren decades and he jumps ship. Didn’t tell me, though. I was talking to a mutual acquaintance and his name came up and the guy goes “He’s a Spurs fan, isn’t he?” I said no, born in Ipswich. And when I confronted him about it, he was almost denying his heritage.

I think it’s outrageous these days when kids from England profess to be Barca fans. Mind you, I think a lot of it has to do with the colours of the shirt and the fact that it’s a fashionable city. You don’t meet a lot of British Bayern Munich fans, because it hasn’t got the cachet.  French word, Baz, I’m not even sure of the dictionary definition, but it means something is cool, trendy, respected, something like that. You don’t go on stag weekends to Germany, do you? Same with Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto. People are pathetic, they have to cling to the coattails of the popular.



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