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

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

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

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

suspect the review will conclude that Iago Aspas should never have been loaned out. Two hat-tricks in two Copa Del Rey games. One might say he has really turned a corner.

GVMUFC
'Liverpool in transfer review'

P

oise, power and (I noticed in his post match interview) freakishly large hands. You know what they say about men with big hands.......... big gloves.

disGUSting
Poise And Power: Barkley's Unique Blend

S

itting next to him in the studio will surely be the closest Jamie Carragher ever got to Thierry...

bungle1976
Henry retires and joins Sky

Footer 365

Premier League: Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge to be treated by Boston Red Sox staff

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge is set to spend Christmas in Boston as he continues to receive treatment on a thigh injury.

League Two: Hartlepool's new manager Ronnie Moore ready for 'biggest job'

Hartlepool's new manager Ronnie Moore says he is taking on "the biggest job in English football".

Premier League news: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge continues recovery in USA

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge will continue his rehabilitation from a thigh injury in the United States.

Mail Box

Pulis To Liverpool Might Just Work

One Mailboxer believes that Tony Pulis managing Liverpool isn't as silly as you might think. Plus Bournemouth aren't that romantic and we're all guilty of ignoring Everton...

It's Not As Simple As Losing Luis Suarez...

That's the view of Liverpool fans in the mailbox as the Reds continue to struggle without their talisman. Suarez isn't doing particularly well at Barca either, it should be said...

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