At this moment in time, there is no escaping the upcoming general election. Combined with the annual post-football season blues, you would be forgiven for complaining of electoral fatigue. To help ease this, All Out Football has placed a more football-friendly outlook on the British political scene. From the Conservatives to Labour, Scottish National Party (SNP) to Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), here are the football counterparts of Britain’s main political parties:
‘Corporate’ is a word associated with both the Conservatives and Arsenal. The popular belief is that the Tories are not for many and are too backward-looking to remain in power. Similarly, Arsene Wenger has drawn criticism for his outdated management style with many believing the club have stagnated in recent years under him. Yet, whilst many continue to predict the end of Wenger’s reign and the one-nation conservatism associated with Theresa May, the two continue to defy their vocal opponents and continue to be supported by a much more reserved fan base. Nevertheless, the longevity and staying-power of both cannot be overlooked. Long regarded as one of the ‘top’ teams in the country, Arsenal have been mainstays in the top six and, until this past season, had finished in the top four for twenty consecutive seasons. Arguably no club caters to the ‘elite’ like Arsenal. With the highest season ticket prices in England and a match day ticket costing as much as £97, Arsenal are far from representative of the traditional working class football supporter.
Labour Party: Manchester City
Just like with the Labour Party, Manchester City supporters once prided themselves on their working class roots. In the face of a challenge from a historically much more successful neighbour, they became the plucky underdogs that the majority of neutrals supported. Yet, they underwent a drastic transformation from 2007 and then more rapidly from 2008 under Sheikh Mansour. With the backing of wealthy investment, the club ended a period without much success and established themselves as a force to a modern audience for the first time since the 1960s. Title victories since then have also been memorable, much like the 1997 election. This transformation under the Sheikhs coincided almost a decade after Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ centralised the party to appeal to middle and upper class voters with overwhelming success. Since then, both have attracted a new generation of fans looking to jump on the bandwagon in the hope they will end the dominance of their traditional rivals. Typically, they are frequently tipped for success, but more than often disappoint. There has since been an attempt to move back to their roots, but do not let the retro-inspired badge fool you, Manchester City – just like Labour – are far removed from the club/party they once were. Now, they are just as guilty of senseless spending as their rivals and are no longer the embodiment of their loyal core of supporters.
Liberal Democrats: Leeds United
Formerly title contenders, Leeds United have struggled to live up to past glories. You would be surprised just how many forget Leeds winning the First Division the season before the inaugural Premier League campaign just as many seem to forget that the Liberal Party (the predecessor to the Liberal Democrats) achieved their most notable success – a victory in the First World War – after their most dominant period. Thereafter, both imploded and have since spent their time trying to recover as a Premier League force and to a point where they can challenge the two-party hegemony of the Tories and Labour. There have been glimpses to suggest that they could return to the highest level, but they continue to fall short of their ultimate aims – most recently missing out on the 2016/17 play-offs. As such, they can no longer be considered a ‘big’ team having spent so long away from the top tier. Multiple takeovers and hostility from its rivals are also elements that can be attributed to the two.
UKIP: Leicester City
Leicester, like UKIP, are one season wonders. Leicester did the unthinkable when they broke the mould and won the Premier League last season. Just a month later, UKIP played an important role in the successful Brexit campaign. Since their respective triumphs, both have come crashing back to reality. Many are predicting UKIP to lose even more influence, believing there to be no point to a party founded on the basis of getting Britain out of the European Union. Membership has continued to fall and candidates are scarce compared to previous years. Likewise, the Leicester ‘fans’ that emerged in 2016 are nowhere to be seen in 2017. The influential spearhead of their successes in 2016 are no longer at the club nor party and that has cost them both supporters. There is some hope of a revival under Craig Shakespeare and Paul Nuttall, but nobody realistically expects them to pose much of a threat.
Green Party: West Brom
Not to everybody’s liking, the Green Party are the West Brom of politics. They constantly do enough to maintain their presence in the Premier League, but fail to really build on that. For the most part, they seem content with just being there. They still occupy a precarious position and it would not be a huge shock if they did get relegated – despite seemingly being an established . They inspire little excitement outside of their own supporters and, even then, the extent of that is questionable. Tony Pulis and the co-leadership of the Green Party can also easily be criticised. Both have seen worse days, but neither appear capable of achieving anything more than what they are doing at the moment.
Portrayed as the party of Scotland, the SNP are the party everybody else wants to beat. Celtic have been the torchbearers for Scotland in Europe for several years now and have been largely unchallenged domestically since 2011. They continue to play up the importance of a strong European campaign with many believing this to make-or-break their season. The appointments of Brendan Rodgers and Nicola Sturgeon breathed new life into Celtic and the SNP, but both are increasingly aware that they face opposition from a revived opponent in the form of Rangers and the Conservatives respectively. Celtic – like the SNP – believe that they have the inherent right to throw their weight around south of the border, believing themselves to a bigger force than they actually are. The future might not be quite as comfortable as it first appeared.
Plaid Cymru: Cardiff City
A loyal core of supporters, yet they have repeatedly failed to garner larger support. Based in South Wales, it has never once felt like Cardiff City or Plaid Cymru are representative of their entire country. They have featured on the big stage, but ultimately contributed little in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, both have failed to establish themselves as a ‘top’ team, but rather a second tier outfit who can occasionally compete with the better teams in one-off contests. They attract little support outside of Wales, just like few fans have taken a liking to Cardiff.
What football clubs can you draw political comparisons to? Which political party do you think your club is most like? Let us know in the comment s below!