6 May 2010
Taking the piss: Uses of urine in football
There are many sad souvenirs that I freely admit to not understanding. Amongst these is the pissing supporter car sticker easily obtainable on sale in seaside towns along with confederacy belt buckles, whelks and rock. There was also a time (the “they’re really shit but they’re animated” boom of the late 1990s) when they littered, if that’s the right word, websites too. It’s difficult to know where to start but the banjo playing slash happy fan (see Chelsea example) with his dopey leer surely cannot be how most supporters wish to see themselves.
It would be nice to think that those resorts with neighbouring witchcraft traditions (Blackpool with Pendle and Great Yarmouth with the whole of East Anglia) were at least aware of the role of urine in the pagan tradition. In fact relieving oneself on an object might be seen as aiding the thing it represents for according to Scott (Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584), to ‘unbewitch the bewitched, you must spet into the pissepot, where you have made water’. In the first century Pliny, in his Natural History, also mentions this approvingly as a sure way of lifting a curse. In the Highlands weeing on doorposts keeps the fairies away from women about to give birth.
There are a number of footy examples of this from David James spitting and passing water into the same urinal before games to fellow shot stopper Sergio Goycochea of Argentina peeing on pitches ahead of penalty shoot-outs. Barry Fry whilst at Birmingham urinated on the corner flags to lift a curse thus giving water sports an entirely new meaning.