There was an interesting article in The Sun the other day comparing German football to British football.
It followed the usual theme of saying that everyone else has it better than us poor old Brits, but – leaving aside a petty sleight of hand by comparing the most expensive Arsenal season ticket to the cheapest Bayern Munich one – it did make some good points about fan culture and attitudes in general.
Of course, it’s easy to point the finger and say the endless jingoism when it comes to national football that The Sun peddles won’t help so it’s a bit hypocritical to complain about how tribal British football is.
The thing that really caught my eye though, was more noticeable through it’s absence, which was namely fan ownership of football clubs.
I was intrigued to see what The Sun, a right-wing newspaper (albeit one that backed Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005!), would say about the different ownership culture in German football, given the ownership of The Sun.
I have to admit I was disappointed, amused but not entirely surprised to see they had left out all reference to fan ownership as a possible explanation of the state and culture of German football.
For instance, what does The Sun, and by extension it’s editorial team and by further extension it’s owner, think of fan ownership, where clubs are required to be at least 51% owned by the fans?
Perhaps more to the point, what does The Sun think about the lack of overseas owners in the German league!
It’s obvious why they’re not going to mention this, and in fairness to the poor writer even if he wanted to I don’t think he’d have a chance of writing about it given the ownership of The Sun, it’s political stance and everything else that goes with it.
The only sad thing, gentle mocking aside, is that for a paper that so proudly trumpets that it’s on the side of its readers it feels unable to provide them with the truth about something many of them would feel instinctive sympathy with.
I do wonder whether the writer was sympathetically discussing German football in the hope of guiding some readers to looking into it with more depth than he could provide in writing the piece.