Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning. There are also photos on the Radio Bristol Facebook page of me wearing a cardigan, which is of interest to the show's fashion police and I am about to be interviewed about it. But the thought. Ah yes. It's this:

I watched a Liverpool home match once, in the late 1970s, from the Kop behind the goal at Anfield. It was a place of great excitement, humour and not a little danger. When Liverpool scored to take a 2-1 lead over Spurs I fell forward about ten yards in a massive crush. I was separated from all my friends. Yes, I remember standing at football matches.

Two of today's news stories are interesting when considered together. The return of safe standing to football grounds is being contemplated. The authorities are aware that something has been lost by way of atmosphere at many grounds following the all-seater legislation of the 1990s.

Why did we have standing areas? Amongst other reasons, it was a working class game and cheap viewing areas kept the spectacle within the pocket of the working person. It served the poor. Today's seated spectators were famously criticised by Roy Keane as 'the prawn sandwich brigade'.

But we also learn that a £10 million lottery grant is coming to Bristol, ear-marked for the support of the most vulnerable members of our community.

You may not agree with all the Christian claims about Jesus Christ. But you cannot read the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John without seeing that he called for people to be judged on the way they treat the poorest. Outcasts. Lepers. Sinners. He went to these people first - and was criticised for so doing.

So whether it is the homeless, recovering addicts, the flooded-out, the victims of female genital mutilation or any other kind of problem - on this programme we are often flabbergasted by the triumphs of the successful - let us never forget the turmoil of the sufferer.

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