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

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

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

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

Y

es, these stats are right. Rio Ferdinand definitely had a better debut than Fernando.

that man
Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

I

know it's only one game, and Arsenal have got an amazing midfield as is; but seriously, is Arsene Wenger the only person on Earth who doesn't want Cesc at their club?

Ezy_Rider
Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

P

S - 'Squeezes [English] out of his mouth like it's an elastic band he's found in his lamb bhuna' - bravo. Marvellous stuff

Ezy_Rider
Football Managers On TV: Paul Lambert

Footer 365

Premier League: Arsene Wenger keen to strengthen Arsenal's defence

Arsene Wenger admits he would like to strengthen his Arsenal squad defensively before the end of the transfer window.

Iain Moody resigns form Crysxtal Palace role as FA looks into Cardiff dossier

Iain Moody has resigned from his role as sporting director of Crystal Palace with immediate effect, the club have announced.

League One: Coventry to return to Ricoh Arena

Coventry City have agreed a two-year deal to return to the Ricoh Arena.

Mail Box

Rojo Is A Better Signing Than Hummels

There's some big talk in the morning mailbox, which claims that Man United were right to sign Marcos Rojo instead of Mats Hummels. Plus, one Gooner's happy Arteta's out...

So Long And Good Luck To Nani

A Mailbox that offers best wishes to a departing hero, defends Olivier Giroud, tells us to steady on over Calum Chambers and makes some amusing predictions...

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