“If only football ceased to exist for all time, how much more rich and varied life would be!” So exclaimed The Guardian’s Scott Murray in July of 2009, spearheading The Fiver’s long-running Stop Football campaign, a summertime initiative designed to “conquer this terrible evil before the season starts again, and we all have to jump back on the treadmill.” After two years, Murray’s scheme found an unwitting group of allies in London’s rioters, who’ve left the opening EPL weekend in jeopardy due to police being otherwise occupied. Or as the not-all-all satisfied Barry Glendenning notes, “to a soundtrack of police sirens, whirring helicopter blades, smashing glass, splintering wood and the raucous laughter of disaffected youths, Stop Football has grown legs and spread across the nation.”
“The police have to make these calls,” said Football League chairman Greg Clarke, when asked if Stop Football had succeeded in having football stopped. “If they feel they have more important things to do than send officers to football grounds, we will support that decision.” .
Elsewhere, looking for all the world like a garden gnome in a really bad mood because someone has nicked his hat and fishing rod, pint-sized billionaire and QPR co-owner Bernie Ecclestone (above) stopped inflating the Loftus Road ticket prices for long enough to ball his fists and stamp his foot in protest at the Stop Football campaign. “It [postponing matches] would send a terrible message to the rest of the world,” he said, much like he said in June, when trouble in Bahrain led to a local car race being postponed. DJ Campbell v Democracy, Justice v Health and Safety? For Stop Football it really is a no-brainer.