He was the revered working class hero, and icon of the game, who described his sport as this: “It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”
Yet, while few, if any, footballing disciples can match Sir Bobby’s passion, the sport is still fortunate to be blessed by respectful individuals like Patrick Bamford whose condemnation of the new league was the most eloquent yet. Why, he wondered, was there so much “uproar” over the break-away league, and involvement of six high-profile English clubs, when “this doesn’t happen with issues like racism” and other issues?
You do not have to be a supporter of football – or fan of Bamford’s own club Leeds United – to appreciate his sentiment’s sincerity and his strongly-held belief that the sport is nothing without the fans.
From Sheffield FC, the world’s first football club, to Harrogate Town, the newest entrant to the Football League, Yorkshire is blessed to have so many teams that continue, to this day, to be rooted in the communities where so many of their most ardent supporters live and work. Long may they continue to do so if the beautiful game described so vividly by Sir Bobby, and now encapsulated by Bamford, is to maintain its love affair with the people who are the heartbeat of the sport – the supporters.
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