Examining the role of football in society


It’s the final game of the season for the women’s team, a win against a side that is only one place above them in the league, would leave us on top with a game in hand. As the game begins, I’m perched at the back of the stand, watching the players take the field. They don’t look nervous, they look strong, focused.

I have to stop myself from shouting. I’m like a child at a Christmas party, running around, wanting to get involved. My friends call me a ‘Hair Bear’, a jokey reference to my love of football. I’m not a ‘hair bear’, I’m a ravenous lion. I’ve been watching football since I was eight years old, and I’ve never stopped. My parents can’t understand this passion, they see it as a distraction. They don’t understand why I can’t just get a job. I’ve tried, and it’s been great, but football has always been at the centre of my life.

After the game ends, I don’t head straight home, instead I head to the pub with my friend. We’re both heavily in the minority, we’re a gay couple, we’re both football fanatics. We have a drink, and we talk about the game, the team, the player of the season.

My friend and I are in a relationship. He’s supportive, understanding, loving. He’s been there for me through the highs and the lows. The game, the team, the player of the season, it’s all irrelevant. He understands my passion, he supports me. He knows what it’s like to be a supporter, he knows what it’s like to be disappointed. We’re both football fanatics, zumroad we’re both football supporters.

When we leave the pub, we head to a gay club, where the DJ is playing ‘Queer Eyes’. I’m up on the dance floor, dancing. I’m having a great time, I’m happy, I’m a football fan. I’m a football supporter.

A friend of mine comes over to me, he’s a big football fan, he’s gay, and he’s trying to come out. “I’m going to have to start wearing a mask at football matches.” He tells me, “it’s just not safe.”

I’m confused. I don’t understand how it’s not safe. Football is a safe environment, it’s a safe place. I feel really confused. I can’t relate to what he’s saying. I don’t know how to respond, I don’t know what to say. I want to ask him what’s not safe, why is it not safe? I want to ask him what he means, but I’m just so confused. I’m not sure how to respond. I don’t know how to help him. I’m a football fan, I’m a supporter. I’m gay. I’m a football supporter, a gay supporter.