A minute of silence? Thanks, but no thanks.

I wasn’t even born when Margaret Thatcher entered Number 10 for the first time as Prime Minister and I had barely celebrated my third birthday when she resigned in 1990, which, I guess, makes me too young to be considered a “Thatcher kid”.

I don’t remember her as Prime Minister but through newspapers, books, friends and family I became familiar with the figure, something so historically close and yet, for my generation, so far – like footballers sporting big moustaches and ridiculously tight shorts.

It would be impossible to analyse Margaret Thatcher’s legacy without focusing on what she represented for football in this country (an enemy masquerade as a saviour) and on what football in this country represented for her (an opportunity to pursue her political agenda) and, since her death, the media have filled column after column on the topic.

Having not been able to experience football before and during her era, I am one of those that, at least according to some, should be grateful to Margaret Thatcher. In the words of Reading’s chairman Sir John Madejski, I am one of those who should stand and observe a minute of silence this weekend as: ”Football was in a bad way when she was prime minister, we saw all the changes in her time and they should pay tribute to that.”

Without wanting to venture too deeply into her political agenda (one that, for that matter, I definitely do not endorse), what exactly is the “that” Madejski refers to?

Does he mean that we, as football fans, should observe a minute of silence for a woman who viewed people who shared our same passions 20 or 30 years ago as criminals, trying (and, mercifully, failing) to enforce draconian laws such as the implementation of an ID card system to monitor fans?

Football in the 70s and 80s was marred by hooliganism, only a fool would dispute it, but should we really pay tribute to somebody who, aware of the glaring mistake made by the authorities, allowed the families of 96 innocent people to endure years of public humiliation, while perpetuating the myth that more suited her agenda?

As has been pointed out by many journalists, Thatcher hated football. She had to for, back then, football was the quintessential working class sport and she hated working class people and the values they shared, be it on a terrace or on a picket line.

Football has moved on since its darkest days – although, I wouldn’t necessarily use the word “evolved” – with beer-stinking terraces replaced by all seated grounds, and tickets pricier than at a West End theatre.

Some say the changes have done the sport a whole world of good, some retain a romantic affection for that bygone era when, despite all its flaws, football was country miles closer to its fans than it is now.

Ironically, Margaret Thatcher was no longer involved in politics when football followed the path she had chosen for Britain – a path upon which communities were torn apart, sacrificial lambs at the altar of money.

As working class people became increasingly alienated from their clubs which often were the epicenter of their communities, their place on the terraces were replaced by paying customers in a corporate box, ripping football away from its own roots.

But like in any other story, for every loser there also must be a winner, hence why some those who tasted yesteryear’s football but have made fortunes in today’s game, like Dave Whelan and Sir John Madejsky are so willing to honour Margaret Thatcher with a minute of silence.

Perhaps for the first time in years, the FA and the Football League haven’t adopted the usual knee-jerk stance,  making abundantly clear that there will be no minute of silence and that each club will be free to choose how to handle the situation.

While I firmly believe that Margaret Thatcher doesn’t deserve a minute of silence by football fans (nor by other millions of people), I agree with those campaigning for it.

Let’s have a minute of silence. It will offer football fans across the country the chance to make their voices heard, a luxury they were never afforded under the Iron Lady.

 

Are you in favour or against a minute of silence in memory of the Iron Lady?We want your opinion,so leave us a comment below. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook by hitting the links, so get involved if you love football. 

 

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  1. Thought there should have been a respected minutes silence, would love to know what others think.

  2. Pingback: WHY WHELAN & MAJEDSKI WERE WRONG ABOUT THATCHER AND FOOTBALL | GET REAL PREMIERGET REAL PREMIER

  3. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure
    why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

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