Why the power of football should not be ignored

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THIS column has developed something of a sociological flavour in recent weeks.

Be it discussing regeneration of communities surrounding the Olympic park in Stratford or the development of bizarre moral codes, nothing is off limits (except, some of you are probably sighing, sport).

Given events in London, Birmingham and other assorted cities around the country of late, readers who believe Marx, Weber and Weinberg are never subjects to discuss across the breakfast table will have to bear with me for at least another seven days.

But fear not. I won’t use the rest of this page to recount tales of student life at the LSE or gripe about being allocated a cramped triple room at a fun but less than desirable hall of residence.

And, believe it or not, I will introduce a bit of football.

As all of us know, one of the most high-profile - albeit less important - casualties of the civil disorder which gripped our capital this month was a friendly between England and the Netherlands at Wembley.

And, as followers of the beautiful game in the Steel City remember, one Kyle Walker was a member of Fabio Capello’s squad.

Those of us who encountered Kyle during his all-too-brief spell at Bramall Lane will remember a polite, well-mannered individual.

Now I don’t claim to know Kyle, his background or family personally. Nor profess to have any real answers why trouble flared in the capital.

But it is important to stress that Walker’s path into the professional game started at a charity called Football United Racism Divides. Which underlines both the power of football and the effect it can have on communities.