Arundel Football Club, “the Mullets” compete in the lower leagues of British semi-professional football. Although football is the number one sport in the country, one could visit this picturesque market town nestled in the Southdowns, with its impressive castle and cathedral, and easily overlook the Mullets’ home, the perfect Mill Road stadium, and that’s not an accident. On a recent trip to Arundel for the candlelight festival, my brother-in-law hunted down the incognito ground while the Reserve club was playing nearby Chichester City FC.
The crisp red and white Arundel FC and sharp green and white Chichester City kits cut through the December fog and yet, confusingly, the home team’s grandstand, ticket booth and outbuildings were painted a very Chichester City green and white. Wha? What gives? Why would the club paint their home ground the color of the local rival? Where is the passion and love for the old red and white?
A quick inquiry with the chap in the ticket booth unlocked the mystery: “country code”. Of course! It seems in these parts the historic town, the picturesque cathedral, medieval castle and rolling hills win out over the grand old game, which must go site unseen.
Outside city centers, blending in is of prime importance and color, specifically green, is used to camouflage – much like McDonalds across the European continent are yellow and green, not their famous red. In Arundel, the holiday festival was most important and a bright red awning promoting the club and the game just would not fly.
Although the football clubs of the south of England are seeing increasing success, the north of the country is where the sport holds most sway. Down south football cedes to the beautiful, green countryside, even if your colors are red and white.