Everybody loves football in Britain. At least, they say they do.
The enthusiasm for football is indeed a religious enthusiasm, albeit with rituals that leave much to be desired from the aesthetic point of view. And no one dares criticise the Church of Football. Even I tend to preface my slight dissent from the church by prefacing my remarks with, ‘Of course, there is nothing wrong with the game itself…’
It is not merely that one reveals oneself as a bad person when one admits that one is uninterested in the game, the kind of person in short who has no empathy with the great mass of mankind; but that, per contra, by claiming to be interested in the game one establishes one’s virtue, one’s deep sympathy for the great mass of mankind.