Like many football fans, I was bitterly disappointed that all games were cancelled this weekend out of respect for the late Queen.
Why was football singled out for this treatment when other sports – test cricket, horse racing, rugby, golf, the Great North Run – went ahead? It’s hard to dismiss the suspicion that it’s because football is still a working class sport and its woke governing bodies feared that the great unwashed might not behave in an appropriately respectful manner.
But the behaviour of football fans at the West Ham game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League group stages on Thursday night was impeccable, with the crowd spontaneously bursting into a rendition of ’God Save the Queen’.
For my own part, I was looking forward to taking my four children to QPR’s home game against Huddersfield in Shepherd’s Bush on Saturday where I was confident the crowd would observe a minute’s silence and then follow the example of the West Ham fans. Not only would I have relished that opportunity to pay my own respects to the Queen, but it would have been something memorable for my children to witness, a way of fixing this historic event in their minds. As it is, there is no single experience associated with this moment – no way of marking the occasion that they’ve participated in – that they’ll be able to tell their own children about.
For depriving families across the nation of that memorable experience, I resent the footballing authorities. Worse, the Queen’s death will now be forever mixed up in my own mind with this lost opportunity. Far from showing respect for her, they have tarnished her memory.
I’m not the only one who feels this way, as MailOnline makes clear.
Former England footballer Peter Crouch has criticised the decision, and said that football matches could have been a place for Brits to come together and mourn the loss of the Queen.
It comes as 60,000 people ran the 13.1 mile route from Newcastle to South Shields in the Great North Run, which was “held in a subdued form“. Horse racing, cricket, rugby and golf also continued over the weekend, with silences held and black armbands worn.
The former footballer said on Twitter: “I know it’s only a game and some things are much bigger but imagine all our games went ahead this weekend.
“Black armbands, silences observed, national anthem, Royal band playing etc to the millions around the world watching? Isn’t that a better send off?”
Mr. Crouch has played for eight English football teams, and played for the national team for five years, starting in 2005, during which time he scored 22 goals.
The sportsman is also one of 33 to have scored 100 or more goals in the Premier League.
The former striker’s views have been widely shared, with other people questioning the FA’s decision to postpone while other sporting bodies continued their events.
Others, including Piers Morgan and Gary Neville, also pitched in to argue that the cancellation was unnecessary.
TV host Morgan lashed out at the “ridiculous decision” while former Manchester United player Neville added: “Sport can demonstrate better than most the respect the Queen deserves.”
Worth reading in full.
I’m afraid this tone deaf decision is yet more evidence, if any more were necessary, that the footballing authorities in the UK are a bunch of complete numpties.