I am not a football fan, nor indeed a fan of any other sport (though I did once win a cup and several spoons at dinghy racing) but two football matches over the past weekend have interested me.
One was the match between Manchester United and Barcelona, where I hoped Barcelona would win, which they did. This may sound disloyal, but I prefer to see the team owned and run for the benefit of its supporters and the sport to succeed over one run for profit by an American or Russian (I'm not sure which) billionaire. In addition I understand that whilst Franco and the Fascists supported Real Madrid, Barcelona was the favoured team of the Republicans in Spain, another point in its favour.
The other match was between Huddersfield and Peterborough, on the result of which depended promotion to a higher division. My home is approximately equidistant between Leeds and Huddersfield, and football fans here tend to support one or the other (although a few support Bradford City. My dear friend, Bradford Councillor John Cole, claims that being both a Liberal Democrat and a City supporter defines the term "optimist.") Leeds has a reputation, I understand deserved, for thuggery both on the field and on the terraces so my sympathies lie with Huddersfield, who I believe are better behaved. There was great excitement in Huddersfield on Sunday morning, reminding me of a time some twenty years or so ago when Batley rugby league team, of which my father was a fervent supporter, played Doncaster for promotion to a higher league. They lost, as, I'm sorry to say, did Huddersfield. As civic compensation I understand that the Huddersfield rugby league team won a convincing victory at Hull.
I suppose most sports fans are aware that the Rugby League was founded in Huddersfield. How many, sports fans or not, realise that Huddersfield is England's largest town?