Edward Burman 20 July 2016 Pliny on sports audiences Edward Burman 20 July 2016 Thinking of recent football riots in France, these words written 2,000 years ago in Rome by Pliny the Elder are prescient: It amazes me that thousands and thousands of grown men should be like children, wanting to look over and over again at horses running and men standing on chariots. If it were the speed of the horses or the skill of the drivers that attracted them, there would be some sense in it—but in fact it is simply the colour. That is what they support and what fascinates them. Suppose half way through the race the drivers were to change their colours, then the supporters’ backing would change too and in a second they would abandon the drivers and horses whose names they shout as they recognize them from afar. Such is the power of a single worthless shirt.