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In praise of - music-free football.

BACK in the day – and I use the hackneyed expression only to stress that it was a Saturday – when football was somehow more like football, they never blasted out pop music before and after games.

And certainly not after goals.

The atmosphere used to build organically. Folk arrived earlier too, whereas today stadia are empty until the last five minutes. It's indicative of our rush-rush world.

But, back in the d, the fans would start singing 20 minutes before kick-off so that, by the time the teams waddled out onto the pitch, a fine crescendo greeted them.

Today, you get battered by pop music played at ridiculously loud levels. Then, right at the very second of kick-off, it's switched off, leaving a stunned silence around the stadium.

Even goals can't be trusted with natural cheers but prompt another quick burst of aural inanity, drowning out the fans' celebrations.

Football is an ineptly run and largely embarrassing business. Announcements are read out at ear-mangling volume about couples travelling half-way across the world to announce their nuptials at the game. And the crowd's response? Not even one hand clapping.

Admittedly, that's not the fault of the announcer but of the fans, who aren't famed for their sensitivity or decency. But I believe the pulverising by loudspeakers has left them incapable of response.

Hibs have sacked their announcer for playing an unsanctioned song, possibly the Beatles' Taxman (to taunt financially challenged rivals Hearts) or, according to internet rumour, another one including swear words. Shockingly humourless decision if it was the former.

But Hibs put the "oot" in "footer", and so he gets his jotters. Shame for him. However, we must hope that he isn't replaced.

Let the fans once more create their own atmosphere. Let the people, not the Tannoy, sing.

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