Dealing with the (Red) Devil(s)By: Peter Katsiris | June 28th, 2010
According to reports from Italy, the notoriously trustworthy AS Roma magazine, FORZA Roma, Manchester United are tabling a 12 million euro bid for Panathinaikos’ Sotiris Ninis. Now, normally I’m all for a Greek moving abroad and gaining experience, as long as their native club is well compensated. This is case is a little different…
As an Olympiacos fan, I usually mind my own business when it comes to these sort of cultural affairs, sticking to the war of words that lives on between Olympiacos and its fiercest rivals. At the same time I could be seen as the biggest perpetrator of the whole ABE (Anyone But England) conspiracy. I guess in this case it’s ABMU (Anyone But Manchester United).
“Why?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell ya. Living in a country that doesn’t find much interest in football (Canada, here we they call it soccer), it’s very rare to find somebody who has the same passion for the sport as you do. Sure there are a few gems hidden in the Great White North, but for the most part, there is a large sense of ignorance for the ‘haters’ of the sport.
Seeing as hockey takes prominence in this country, sports such as soccer are seen as a grassroots game due to the lack of rough-stuff in the game — barbaric? Yep. So, when a World Cup rolls around, or even just a regular time of the European club season, the arrogance and ignorance spills over like the oil spill causing environmental havoc at the time of writing in the States.
This ignorance leads to making uneducated comments seen as a cardinal seen by the true fans of the beautiful game, not to mention the whole bandwagon effect that can quickly torch any friendship. The once-British influence on Canada has in turn seen a wide-variety of Brits make the leap across the Atlantic Ocean and into Canada. Thus, for starters, the popularity of Manchester United is relatively strong regardless of the non-soccer folk.
It doesn’t help the less-informed folk will then choose one of the more well-known teams, so if it’s not Barcelona or Real Madrid, it’s most likely a team from the most-watched league, the English Premier League. This is where Manchester United takes the cake, and it’s rather ridiculous supporting a team when you know just one player. It used to be Cristiano Ronaldo, and now it’s generally Wayne Rooney who gets the support.
So, if these reports about Ninis are true, and should the most-hyped name in the Greek game move to Old Trafford, I will still have to cheer against Greece’s biggest hopes on the international stage at every chance I get.
Sorry Sotiri, but local pride is on the line…