Friday! Lean back as the tough part of the week ends and pick up your electronical device of choice. In this weekly feature editor Axel Falk embraces the role of the Trequartista and roams free through the week's events or about football in general. So before you go out for drinks or sit down to watch Bundesliga, make sure to enlighten yourself by reading Trequartista.
I grew up in a small town in the southern part of Sweden. I was loved and I was cared for. However, every day of my childhood was like propaganda. Every day my father let me know what happened in the world of football and most likely, it had something to do with Arsenal. For me it was only natural to myself become an Arsenal-fan, just like my father (God knows what would have happened if I had turned out to be a Tottenham-fan). I had no choice, gladly, which is something I am grateful for every day of my life. It doesn't matter if they lose, draw or win, I have something to believe in every day of my life and I have my father to thank. I had no choice.
Lately, however, I have felt uncomfortable with my choice of club. Arsenal hasn't felt the obvious choice anymore and another club has slowly been taking over, without me actually noticing it. Lately, my love for German football and my disgust for the Premier League has almost left me with no choice. Why?
Since I began to use Twitter, or social media in general, there has been an uncomfortable feeling whenever talking about Arsenal, which I do quite often, and more often than I like I see comments saying that the fans who aren't English aren't entitled to an opinion. I repeat. Non-English fans aren't entitled to an opinion. This is interesting. I see it almost everyday, written by people I had not expected would write such a thing and every day I see the same people sugar-covering their own opinion. As woeful as the opinion might be, it shows only cowardice to try to hide it. This is not a story or an article about my love for German football, neither is this a story about my childhood. This is a story of how xenophobia daily changes foreign fans in English football.
In Germany, or France or Spain or Italy, they generally do not care whether you are from Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Swaziland, the moon or Alpha Centauri. It doesn't bother them, as the most important thing is to cheer the team. As long as you share their love for the club, they accept you as a fan. I have never encountered xenophobic behaviour on the German side of Twitter or while discussing Bundesliga, but I have however encountered it on several occasions while discussing Premier League. Thus, I have stopped. I stopped caring, I stopped and after a while a disgust for the arrogance the culture itself represents. Xenophobia in football changes opinions, it changes us, it makes us feel unwelcome and without the foreign fans international football would be absolutely nothing.
It is truly a trivial issue, albeit a concerning one. Daily, people change their opinions, they do simply not want to be reminded of English football. It is normal, it is trivial, but it is a clear trend.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.