To El Pais: “Since the money has come, football has ceased to be a culture of the working class, it is not as involved as it used to be”
An interview with author Irwin Welsh, author of Trainspotting on El Pais. The subject is football. The Welsh are a big fan of Hibernian Football Club (Hibs), a Scottish football club based in Edinburgh.
«Football is our last emotional connection. I see him with many friends. We gather to watch football, some of these people, if it weren’t for football, wouldn’t be in touch. It’s a great emotional bond ».
Talk about the sense of identity that football conveys.
“You see the qualities in the team that you support and you project these qualities in the people who support that team. Objectively this is bullshit. There are good people and bad people who support all teams. We know it, but we do it anyway. There’s something special in our team or our people. There comes a point in adolescence or puberty where you really believe in it. Then you realize that there Nothing, it’s silly, but you still like that representation, it’s a cultural thing. But most people don’t take it too seriously.’
He says he is in a moment of struggle with football.
«My dislike for football is huge now. I’m not interested in the European Championships. I should, because Scotland is here for the first time in a long time, but instead… I guess it’s for Covid and empty stadiums but now I don’t mind if you never kick the ball again».
Football without spectators, they say,
“It’s stupid. When people come back to the stadium, I’ll start taking interest in them again.”
“You have two teams competing in the finals of a tournament they tried to eliminate. That’s just the stupidity of the game and the stupidity of this world. You can’t take this kind of thing seriously or get emotionally involved in it. This is nonsense. it has nothing to do with football».
Has the fans stopped the Super League because the football is theirs?
“I believe that football has not belonged to the fans for a long time. I think they will do Super League quietly anyway. He planned it badly. They will find the way. The neoliberal economy has worked for 40 years, and is only accelerating. This is entertainment ».
«I miss it when football was real and the fans were from the community where the club was located. For those of us who have always been fans, there is always a little nostalgia. Eventually there will be a league where a team like Liverpool will play all their games in Singapore or Dubai. If the team is a total franchise, why should it be based after an old industrial town in England? What are old school fans good for? They are not needed ».
What does England-Scotland mean beyond football?
“I’m not sure. The first few games were pretty balanced: England won about 50% and Scotland 50%. Then, Football stopped being a working class culture when money started coming in. Previously, there were always good Scottish teams because they were associated with poverty. There’s a skill economy now, and England has 10 times the population, so they have 10 times better players. In fact, in Scotland we are no longer rivals of England. We are rivals of the Faroe Islands or something, this is our home derby. I am also not a big fan of the Scottish national team. I think for most people it’s just another football match. It’s no longer worth the effort to join as it was before».
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