TSF: The Effect Of Religion On Modern Football

Each week, The Secret Footballer will offer a sneak preview of his weekend column on F365. In this column, he ponders religion's creep into the dressing-room...

Last Updated: 28/09/12 at 09:17 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's 2014/15 Season Quiz - Questions

Post comment

With the new season just around the corner, how much do you remember about last season's Premier League. Oh, well then you're going to do badly...

All Articles

This is a preview of The Secret Footballer's weekly column. The full version will appear on his website - The Secret Footballer.com - on Saturday...

I don't believe in God. As a young man, I made a point of avoiding religion like a plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1). Because of that lifestyle choice, you could call me ignorant whenever religion creeps in to my life - like the fact I had to use Google to check where the plague of locusts is mentioned in the Bible.

When I first began playing football, religion in this country was not something that many players went in for. Fast-forward more than a decade and we can see signs of players taking religious inspiration into almost every game, whether it's the prayers in the changing-room beforehand, the sign of the cross as they enter the pitch or the 'I belong to Jesus' vests that some players feel the need to display to the rest of the world.

I am not offended by religion, I don't follow a religion myself and I don't judge others that do. I am fairly nonplussed by the whole thing, if I'm honest, but the cultural explosion in changing-rooms up and down the country means that many players are being affected by the beliefs of others.

The annual fasting by Muslims, known as Ramadan, is the most obvious example of different religions affecting football clubs. The performances of Newcastle's Demba Ba have suffered, according to his manager Alan Pardew, as a direct result and, by extension, the team has had to shoulder his loss.

I have been witness to exactly the same situation and, while our manager made all the right noises in the media, demonstrating understanding and acceptance inside the walls of our training ground, he was as intolerant towards that player as he was ignorant of his situation.

Rightly or wrongly, my life simply doesn't have room for religion. I enjoy my vices and I don't like the thought of being answerable to anybody or anything. I never have. I don't know enough about it; there are a lot of grey areas to my mind. I don't understand how to live my life on somebody else's terms and I don't understand what is expected from me.

Be it my ignorance, but I also don't understand how a couple of religious players who I know can walk on to the pitch making the sign of the cross and, later that same night, walk out of a young lady's hotel room with the devil on his shoulder.

You can follow The Secret Footballer on Twitter here, or buy his book here, which we reviewed here

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think that puts all doubts over Benteke's quality to bed. Can he do it after receiving the ball to feet, in the box, totally unmarked, on a warm, sunny afternoon in Swindon? Oh yes he can! This year is definitely Liverpool's year. YNWA.

rationalmanc
WATCH: Benteke's debut screamer

A

ll very well selling all midfield and strikers but unless we bring anyone in that is better than what we had then it will be a terrible transfer window in my view. Sorted out the defense but our midfield and striker options look very light.

bigo
Spurs Halfway To The Perfect Summer

L

ove it when Jose accuses others of being defensive, cynical and playing to win. If I was Wenger, I'd get that quote laminated and framed - surely the biggest compliment he's ever received from Mourinho. You've got him riled Arsene - you're relevant again!

suarez_blind
Jose rues pitch and weather after defeat

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has 'difficult questions'

Arsenal centre-half Per Mertesacker says manager Arsene Wenger has a lot of "difficult questions" to answer.

West Ham forward Enner Valencia ruled out for up to 12 weeks

West Ham forward Enner Valencia has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with a leg injury.

Jordy Clasie says he'd have rejected move to Man United in order to join Southampton

Jordy Clasie claims he'd have rejected Man United to sign for Southampton - saying it's "better to start lower and finish higher".

Mail Box

There's A Lot Of Anger About TV...

...and how much you have to pay - largely for games you don't actually want to watch. Many of you are forced to go illegal. We also have mails on Chelsea, Angel di Maria and...

Not Just A Friendly. This Had Meaning...

Arsenal fans are very excited about beating Chelsea (don't remind them about last year), while there is criticism for BT and a football fan tired of being screwed by TV...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company