Forgive me for being a complete push-over. Forgive me for being a classic bleeding-heart
liberal. Forgive me for feeling awkward and uncomfortable at the sight of others' misfortune.
Forgive me for tedious persistence in looking at "the wider picture". Forgive me for droning endlessly
on about the politics of lower division football clubs. Forgive me for being too damn sensible.
Above all, forgive me for not wanting Luton to go bust.
It's not that I don't hate them. I do, kind of. I hate them as much as I can hate anything
that has little or no impact on my life. It's a bit like despising aardvarks or gooseberry jam -
an abstract loathing that just never comes into play and that's swamped by real contempt
for stuff that matters.
What is "stuff that matters"? Well, there's a simple benchmark. Big Hard Excellent Fish (yes, all right, I know) had a
single out in 1990 called "Imperfect List". As the title suggests, it's an incomplete list of all
the things that drag you down and crush your spirit daily, all the crap that humanity spews forth, read out over five minutes with venomous
resignation. It goes from Hillsborough to Hiroshima, "red sock in a white wash" to miscarriage, Jimmy Tarbuck to Adolf Hitler, "disloyal lover" to lost keys, "AIDS inventor" to Clause 28, and on,
and on. And it contains the absolute definition of hatred....
"F***ing bastard Thatcher." Three words that are so filled with spite and fury and hurt
and indignation and sorrow and revenge that, how ever you felt about our former PM, they make you shudder.
Now that is hatred, that is "stuff that matters".
For me, Luton are too insignificant to be the subject of such utter rage. Not even
the meatheads who insist on sending me unintelligible insults via the comments form
on this site will ever be able to summon up those feelings.
It's not that football isn't important enough, or that I push it aside in favour of
so-called 'real' issues. Far from it - Bill Archer, David Bellotti, and
Ken Richardson would be right up there with the greats in my personal "Imperfect List", and
Paul Peschisolido and Sasa Curcic wouldn't be left out either. There is plenty of "stuff that
matters" within football, it's just that Luton aren't it.
I like it when they lose, I don't like it when they win. That's what it comes down to, really. And
that's several bus journeys away from wanting them to go out of business, particularly when
I spent an unhealthily large part of my life arguing for the survival of all ninety-two league
clubs. Football needs Luton, just as it needs Oxford, Portsmouth, Chester, and (gulp) Palace. Villains
and heroes, as it should be.
Of course, I understand if others feel differently. I'm only trying to explain, not persuade. If
you're so vociferously anti-Luton that you'd gladly nuke the place, I'm only asking a small
favour - please don't think too badly of those of us who'd prefer to see them survive.
The whole point of football, although you'd be forgiven for forgetting, is that you win, lose or
draw matches. That's the proper way to succeed or fail. Luton need to get through the
pain of receivership so that they can push ahead with the real task in hand, namely being absolute
rubbish. I hope they do so.
If you wish to make a contribution to the Fans of Luton Action Group (FLAG), their
website can be found here.