We are the champions

The controversy about a new England football manager reminds us that religion is not dying out. After Kevin Keegan, who will Authentic Prada Wallet For Sale Philippines be Authentic Prada Handbags Usa the new saviour?

Aside from the fact that football clubs such as Everton grew out of churches in the 19th century, there are important parallels between Christianity and football. Christianity has its 10 commandments, baptisms, vestments, The Lord’s My Shepherd, shrines and cathedrals, martyrs and saints – and Vatican City. Football has its offside law, the first team debut (often a baptism of fire), team strip – and Wembley.

The football stadium and the church both provide an outlet for communal praise and worship. An unsuspecting visitor to Rome in August might not have realised that the crowds chanting „Viva La Papa“ were not football supporters but part of an estimated 2m pilgrims from 160 countries celebrating World Youth Day.

But what really binds Christianity and football, and partly explains both fundamentalism and the kind of footballmentalism which marred Euro 2000, is that they are both messianic belief systems with the idea of a saviour at their core. In Glasgow, of course, fundamentalism and Best Prada Outlet In Italy footballmentalism produce an explosive cocktail every time Celtic and Rangers clash.

For Christians, Jesus is the revelation of the God of Abraham and Moses, and, as the 4th-century Nicene creed states: „He will come again to judge the living and the dead.“ If you are a football supporter, your messianic expectations are focused on the more immediate arrival of the manager or player who will shepherd your people to the promised land of the league title or the cup.

Keegan failed in this respect. Indeed, had he stayed on the other week, the calls of „Crucify him!“ would have resounded through the land, with sports writers acting as scribes and pharisees.

During my childhood, before football was gentrified Biggest Prada Store In London – and when you did not need to be a linguist to read the programme’s team All Prada Nylon Bags list – the question was usually „Derby or Forest?“ rather than „Protestant or Catholic?“ For those were the days when another messiah, Brian Clough, stalked the touchline: „Brian Clough walks on water,“ chanted the fans on the terraces and, as far as they were concerned, he did.

In his recent book, God’s Squad (2000), on footballers who embrace Christianity, Phil Shirley recounts a conversation between former England star Cyrille Regis and his ex-boss at West Bromwich Amancio Prada Prada Albion, Ron Atkinson. „What’s all this about you finding God? You worked for him at West Brom for four years,“ says Atkinson. „Actually, Ron,“ replies Regis, „there is only one God, and you are not him.“

To the faithful, their football club is not simply a multi-million pound leisure industry, a nursery for advertisers, or a set of stock exchange figures. And the suits who run the game ignore this at their peril. Authentic Prada Vitello Daino

Like a church, a football club provides you with a focus for worship, a community with shared beliefs, Best Prada Outlet In Florence history and myths, and a way of defining who you are in a society at a spiritual cross-roads. It can lead you to the heaven of winning a trophy or to relegation hell; in between is the purgatory of replays and play-offs. Football provides what Christianity claims to do: hope.

But unlike Christianity, it does not answer the big questions of life, death and beyond. Rather, for 90 minutes it helps us to forget about these questions. Authentic Prada Milano Handbags Sometimes, we all need to forget but, sooner or later, we have to remember that football, for all its communal values, is Authentic Prada Online Shop entertainment and prada sg, unlike Christianity, not a religion – even if the Manchester United website comes with the banner, „Love your team? Build a shrine.“