My friend Steve Moore was chatting to me today about how football fans marked the death of George Best at games over the weekend.
Manchester City (the local rival to Best’s former club Manchester United) were a bit concerned that the planned minute’s silence would be marred by a small number of diehard fans who wouldn’t show respect for a rival team’s player. So they approached the Football Assocation with a simple idea: let’s instead have a minute’s applause led by a former fellow player of Best’s. That way, the malcontents would be drowned out.
Word came back from the FA. Absolutely not, that’s not the appropriate thing blah blah. The result: At Man City’s ground, the silence was ruined by the diehards and referee ended it early.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Britain, some grounds spontaneously went down the applause route. And now it seems likely that this will be the new orthodoxy for marking Best’s passing.
I sometimes think ideas have a life of their own and when their time has come, it has come, regardless of what those in authority like to think.
I also wonder if this is another straw in the wind: that this sort of solemn silence belongs to a more deferential era… and that these days people want to be more expressive ?