F is for food…
A football fan marches on their stomach. Your typical match day isn’t complete without a detour to grab something from the pie stands, burger vans, hot dog stalls or the local fish and chip shops that line the routes to and from a stadium.
It takes more than mung beans and lentils to keep supporters satisfied, well-fed and in good voice to cheer for their teams. Salads are little more than benign interlopers on a quarter-pounder at best.
The quality and cost of the fare on offer at each ground is ranked by the travelling hordes as they follow their clubs around the country. Certain away days become dates in the diary to look forward to while others are feared in terms of what grub will be up. Words spreads, reviews are pooled and reputations rise and fall.
Food can say more about a club and its supporters than many realise. Some visiting fans have been known to laugh off the pricy pizza slices offered up at Emirates as gourmet symbols of the new ground’s over-refinement. On the other hand, the sight of a fast food trailer plonked on the pitch at a lower league fixture is rather comforting in its own earthy way.
While some of the country’s bigger clubs—usually the ones more exposed to the cultured stylings of the continental competitions of Europe—may try to branch out, little seems to have changed in terms of the tastes of the average punter.
Even if football continues to become evermore sterilised, cleansed and removed from the context and communities that made the game what it is, it’s hard to see the hunger for cheap, fried and flamed food stuffs waning any time soon around a football pitch.
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