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

Brit Coaches Abroad: Jack Brazil

Post comment

At 20 years old, he spent the summer as head coach of the Mongolian Premier League side Bayangol FC. Son of Gary, he's already seen more than most...

F365's Complete List Of Summer Transfers

29 comments

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

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

G

reat article. Hits the nail on the head. Encapsulates why I don't read tabloid newspapers anymore. The only thing worse is the 'told you so first' headline when they get lucky.

ianonabeach
Time To Burst The ITK Bubble

F

amous. If that can be achieved whilst sitting in your pants and without any degree of hard work, all the better. I have no desire to be famous, but the rest of that line suits me just fine. Great article by the way, well worth the wait.

hunter sanchez
Time To Burst The ITK Bubble

T

here seems to be little focus on the performance of Besiktas. They played very well and stopped Arsenal from playing. Credit has to go to their manager. As much as Arsenal didn't play too well, we kept a clean sheet, but the home side made it very difficult.

Geddy76
Chambers' Poise Impresses Again

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Transfer news: Marco Reus said to have turned down move to Manchester United

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has told Onda Cero that Marco Reus rejected a move to Man Utd this summer.

Transfer News: Swansea complete deal for Napoli defender Federico Fernandez

Swansea City have signed defender Federico Fernandez from Napoli for an undisclosed fee.

FIFA committee rejects Barcelona's appeal against transfer ban

Barcelona will be unable to sign new players in the next two windows after a FIFA committee upheld their transfer ban.

Mail Box

Mailbox: Feeling Sorry For Poor TC23

If there's one loser in all the machinations at Man United, it's poor TC23. We have mercifully few mails on United, but lots on Arsenal and in particular Olivier Giroud...

Dear Brendan, Please Sign Di Maria

That's the request to Brendan Rodgers in the mailbox, and not just because it would annoy Man United fans. Plus, more thoughts on why Arsenal didn't want Cescy back...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property