Anonymous asked: Isn't the term AMF inadequate in that it romantices the past? Re. Hull, Palace were once called the glaziers and wore claret n blue, mufc were once called newton heath and played in green n yellow, don revvie changed leeds to all white after real madrid, etc. What do you mean by football being a w/c game, weren't many clubs started by employers to enthuse a sense of identification in their employees, thereby implicitly disuading potential antagonism (not saying it was conspiratorial btw)?
Hi there - cheers for question(s).
I think there’s some important points there about romanticising the past - I just think that picking too much semantically at the term AMF does not really reflect how it is functionally used by football fans. It’s by necessity a broad term - a product of football fans being a cross-section of people with differing beliefs and personal politics - uniting sometimes under an umbrella term on certain key issues. I don’t mean that in the sense that it shouldn’t be explored, criticised and scrutinised. What I mean is that the term’s real use and meaning should be defined in how the bulk of fans organically use it and perceive it rather than taking the term too literally.
So I agree - the things many football fans take issue with in the contemporary setting are not *exclusively* new (name/kit changes, crass profiteering off the sport etc etc.) phenomena. But there are a range of issues affecting football supporters that are predominantly symptoms of ‘modern’ football and identifiable as such. That is to say, the last decade or so that has been historically linked to the advent of the Premier League and the tangible decline of importance of match-going football fans to the football ‘industry’ and governing bodies in comparison to the corporate interests of television companies (and their subscribers), sponsors and so on. A broad banner term such as AMF serves a useful purpose in uniting a very diverse spread of people around core issues. It enables a sense of solidarity and a platform to build campaigns on. It’s not perfect but it’s far from useless either - and I certainly argue that the broad positives that come out of the phrase far, far outweigh the negatives/semantic issues.
True, you can romanticise the football from the past and that can be dangerous/inaccurate/not useful sometimes, but I think there are two other sides to that issue. Firstly, there are many wonderful things about football’s past that are romantic and indeed better than they are now. Secondly, it comes back to my point about AMF being necessarily broad and an umbrella term that gets used in a sometimes functionally different way than the exact implications of the term. Or in a less waffly way, being “against modern football” does not de facto mean “pro all aspects of historical football, every single one of em”. To use a political example, think about how broad a term like “anti-war movement” is - how many political ideas, ideologies, people, tactics etc. that could cover. Does that make the term devoid of meaning or inappropriate? Does it mean that all people engaged with being “anti war” are against all forms of conflict? It’s a broad term for a broad movement with broad aims that serves a function. That’s a very short answer - but only because I’ve written a really long and boring article on this very subject and you can read it here if you like:
I think whenever i’ve made references to football being a ‘working class game’ (actually, don’t think I have ever actually written that explicitly on here but in most cases i’d say it’s a fair generalisation to make, depending on how literally you take it) I’d probably be talking about the ‘game’ in terms of fan culture. I’m not myopic about it - there’s plenty of difference there and you’ve noted some of them. Any time I’ve referred to that it would probably be to point out that football is characteristically/broadly enjoyed, played, suffered and engaged with by working class people allover the world. On that basis, football fills an important part of working class culture in many places across the world (whether people like it or not - it’s still there, playing a part) and similarly working class culture necessarily informs a lot of football fan culture. With that in mind, I’d probably bring up the issue of class because a lot of the big issues synonymous with ‘modern football’ disproportionately target the traditional ‘core’ of working class football supporters who want to see games in the stadium with their friends or family (i.e. ticket price hikes, rearranged KO times, steward/police harassment etc.). It’s not as simple as a class issue, but to deny it seems to fly in the face of something pretty tangible and real.
Again, short answer cos (hopefully) I’ve addressed how applying strict class terms to football historically is complex and sometimes problematic in this question response here:
Cheers again for your questions.