"Punk FootballPunk Football is a phrase that seems to be doing the rounds a bit lately. Punk Football seems to be the buzzword the thing the way forward(?). An FC United flag complete with Skull and Crossbones can be seen at most of their matches. So what's it all about and is there such a thing.
The Collins English Dictionary defines Punk Rock as: a fast abrasive style of rock music of the late 1970's characterised by anti-Establishment slogans and outrages clothes and hairstyles. Well you can argue about that all day but that by my (as a punk rocker) reckoning is about 10% of it. So what's Punk Football? Is it fast and abrasive does it consist of the fans of it wearing outrageous clothes and hairstyles? I doubt it. What it is is football fans saying enough is enough. Back in 1976 people had had enough of overpaid extravagant rock dinosaurs such as Yes ELP and the Stones etc. 30 years later music has changed beyond recognition and if it hadn't been for punk rock this wouldn't have happened. Now in 2006 the dinosaurs are the Premier League the FA SKY Sports the players the agents and the managers. And the time has come for a change.
There's no way all the punk football fans and potential punk football fans can do an FC United and there's no way the whole status quo can be kicked over. For as much as punk rock changed everything the Rolling Stones are touring this summer. But no punk was more than "No Elvis Beatles or the Rolling Stones". It was about starting bands and label. Fanzines and record companies. Becoming a designer or a writer. It was a DIY-don't give a shit attitude. But most of all it was sorting your own head out. Developing that attitude and sticking with it whether you're an accountant or an artist. Some of us have lived with this ethic since 1977 others were there before and others have come along and adopted that attitude. They are the clever ones. They are the ones that have been involved with the various movements be it political or musical. Northern Soul was punk. The dance scene was punk. The current indie scene is punk. Some of those people now have families and they may not go out as much as they did but the attitude's still there. And it is those people that are developing a punk football attitude.
They don't buy into all this SKY Sports thing. They are the Geroge Barlow's of football. They are the people that post on www.mudhutsmedia.co.uk or rather don't post on the Latics section. If there's nothing to say they don't post - if there's something important to say or react to then it's buzzing. A low crowd at a Carling semi-final? Maybe people from London to Wigan are saying enough is enough. 20 (or so) games in eight weeks is not only too many games for the professional player (that is paid more in a week that we earn in a year) it is too much for the working class man and woman that has sustained and continues to sustain this game of football. It's about challenging things. Punk Football within the club's administration? I don't think so. If there had been an ounce of punk inside JJB Towers then it would have been a tenner "all in" for the Carling semi-final. If there was a smidgen of punk in the administration then they'd get rid of the dancing girls and Tom Hark musical interludes. And if there was more than a pocket of punk football resistance in our fan base then the Latics' messageboards wouldn't be full of pricks that think they are Mr Wigan Athletic and whose only input in being a Wigan Athletic fan is to raise their hands above their heads while chanting "Easy Easy" and coming up with a non-funny one-liner on a thread about absolutely damn all.
At Wigan although numbers are growing there are not many of us that follow the ethics of Punk Football. But we are there. We are the ones that go to the game when we want to (which is normally 90% of the time) but don't feel a need to tell everybody about it. We are the ones that actually watch the game and feel no need to sing the song we heard last week. We are the ones that know when to keep our mouths shut away from home and we are the ones that don't plan our Saturday around Soccer AM and the Prem Plus game. We write things about the game and do not just who post about who we are "not going to buy". We understand football culture. The real culture that has been in-bedded within working class communities since the first football clubs were formed. In our own way we give wholehearted support to the club we love and largely go unnoticed. We contribute to the game in ways that do not affect the JJB balance sheet. It isn't a JCL thing. People that have been watching for 20 months can be more Punk Football than somebody that has been watching for 20 years. If we were to leave the club then we wouldn't be missed financially but rest assured the heart of the club would be missing.
The time is ripe for Punk Football in general. As the club we love is playing at the highest level of football possible it is needed more than ever down Anjou Boulevard. If you're already with us you'll know this already if you want to join get on board it isn't too late.
"Hey Ho Let's Go"
January 15th, 2006