At Aston Villa away, a friend turned round to me and said “this is the future of football.” He was talking about the lack of beer at half time in the upper tier. The reasoning being that they could not serve beer on health & safety grounds.
At the time, I laughed it off. It was a bit cramped and they were serving beer down stairs.
The very next away game, my mate said to me “I told you so”. It was Chelsea away and, due to a flare going off in the concourse, they had decided not to serve beer at half time.
We then come to Stoke Away. And the excused began. A smoke bomb went off down stairs, and this resulted in no beer at half time again. This time, however, they used it as an excuse, as throughout the away concourse, there were signs up before the game “We do not serve at half time.”
At Liverpool yesterday, it got worse:
When we asked a steward why there were no beers at half time, he said it was due to the beer taps being off. What an excuse! When I asked for a wine (they were bottles) I was refused, and informed by bar staff it was no alcohol at half time.
Just to rub it in, the Liverpool TV’s on in the concourse kept flashing up with the message ‘Alcohol will be ceased to be sold 15 minutes before the beginning of the manager and be resold 30 minutes into the 1st half’. What a piss take.
This followed an announcement the day before that beer would not be served at half time during the West Ham away match. Again, the excuse is health & safety.
My friend was right. This is the future of football. Already beer is banned in England for European ties, despite the Champions League having a beer sponsor – and grounds throughout Europe being able to serve beer, tequila, vodka and sambuca.
The next step will be beer being banned in away ends at all games in the Premier League. It is a sad situation and another knife into the heart of real football fans.
Between ticket prices, game times, being forced to sit (what was the announcement at Anfield yesterday about?), the text to grass service and the over handed policing and stewarding at games (yesterday fans were getting thrown out at half time left right and centre), and now the drink ban slowly creeping in, the game is becoming sanitised.
The issue is football clubs do not want fans like me and you. Who spend thousands up and down the country, have a few beers, and have a good craic. They want people who will travel with the official travel club, who will sit quietly and watch the game drinking their latte’s (these were advertised at Anfield). They want it to be like the theatre.
When the football bubble bursts, it will be us fans – the ones they are trying to alienate – they return to, cap in hand asking us to come back. And we probably. Arsenal is life.
Football is dying. Beer no longer being served at half time is just the beginning.