Every football fan coincidentally an expert on Balkan politics

More or less every football fan in Britain is also a well-informed historian, sociologist or foreign policy expert specialising in south-eastern Europe, Back of the Net can reveal...

As Serbia's clash with Albania was abandoned amid scuffles between players and fans, men and women who follow football took to social media to reveal the breadth of their knowledge of Balkan society to a grateful public.
 
"These scenes are no surprise to me, because the former Yugoslavia is chock-full of ancient hatreds that are fated to simmer away for ever and ever," wrote 53-year-old Bill Darby in the comment section below an online newspaper article.
 
"And I know what I'm talking about, because I happen to have a PhD in post-Ottoman studies, although I've never mentioned it to anyone before."
 
"Of course, you get scenes like this every time Serbia play," agreed 27-year-old Luke Piper, writing on a Fantasy Football forum that he frequents along with thousands of his fellow eminent anthropologists. "It's obvious that the inability of all Serbs to accept the lessons of history proves they don't belong in the civilised West, where nobody has ever committed a genocide or celebrated the actions of a war criminal.
 
"Some people might want to put these events in their political context, or talk about how the fans in the stadium represent a tiny minority of the national population," Piper continued. "But as a specialist, I'd say why bother? You can learn everything you need to know about Serbia from a three-minute video someone posted on Facebook."
 
Further expert analysis came from student-turned-Twitter pundit Simon Larson, who used his years of training in Albanian-Serbian relations to say: "Both countries should be thrown out of UEFA. That would teach them a lesson and ensure something like this never happened again.
 
"Maybe they could sort things out with a friendly somewhere neutral, like Kosovo."
 
Everybody is eagerly looking forward to the weekend newspapers, when discussions of the post-game fallout will reveal political journalists' unexpectedly nuanced grasp of football.
 
More from Back of the Net