It has been around 50 years now, since the great Bill Shankly once said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I assure you, it’s much more important than that.”

I remember one friend who once asked: “What is so special about football? Isn’t football just twenty two players running around, chasing after one ball?” Well, to those who have to ask, no answer will suffice.

Here is what I would say football is.

Football is a culture that transcends national boundaries. Whether you are in Spain, England, or Brazil, or Germany, football is a culture that is deeply embedded into every society. Even in countries where a “footballing tradition” is not as deep, it is still a game played by their children in schools, by their kids in the streets. Everywhere you go, wherever you are, everyone loves football – it is an international culture.

Football unites. People of different race, language, nationality, and religion, unite to play the same tune and sing the same song. It brings people together, it breaks down barriers. It is a song of บาคาร่า peace.

In football, we experience the greatest rivalry. For managers, players and fans alike, it is a battle; a war to fight. See the intensity in the game, the drive, the forcefulness, the determination. Yet we see the greatest respect. The shaking of hands, the exchanging jerseys, the respect and praise. It is a paradox that cannot be explained.

See the passion and emotions in football. It excites, it depresses. It inspires, it disappoints. It brings hope, it brings anguish. It drives you forward, it slows you down. It lifts you high, it brings you low. Football takes you and holds you.

Football is a lasting memory. It is a legacy which lasts for a lifetime. Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Kenny Daglish, (Yes, I am a Liverpool fan), Sir Bobby Charlton, Pele, Maradona… We still remember them. We talk about them, we write about them. Future generations will still think about them.

Yes, there is a dark side to football. Those players who dive, some who cheat, others fight, and some would harm. These are those who tarnish the image of the beautiful game. But the dark side only proves that there is a glorious side to foo