Rewind twenty years and Britain would never have known the now famous Wealdstone FC fan caught on camera getting irate at a Ryman Premier League game.
Gordon Hill went to watch his beloved Harrow-based club play Whitlock FC last March in typical fashion, drinking himself into a mindless stupor before blurting out a mixture of expletives that were picked up by a covert camera. The video went viral.
Talking to RudeTube, Hill noted that ‘he didn’t remember much of it’ and that he was just ‘tapped on the shoulder and someone took a video of me’. Think how strange it would be to become famous over something that random – a thirty second moment that would become interminably iconic.
It would be easy to take a cynical perspective of the video as a whole – at a basic level it shows some embarrassing anti-social behaviour from a drunken middle-aged man in an environment so uncompetitive it’s silly. But when you contextualise what it has become, it’s difficult not to love how the internet has made this so-undeserving man a legend.
Hill now has over 100,000 followers on twitter, his own website, a lucrative tour of UK clubs that is allegedly fully booked well into the new year, his own underwear range, a range of merchandise, and a hit song (which, on a musical level, is horrifically bad) that has made good money for a number of charities.
That is something that millions of underground artists aspire to every day; people with an aptitude for many things. They will never achieve the level of publicity that he has. And that’s the beauty really of the entire debacle, that the internet can transform and inflate your average person into a celebrity for something that he can hardly even remember. And let’s be clear about Hill, he is an average person like any man of his age, working as a builder in the week and supporting his football team at the end of it. Watch any of his video updates and you can see that his drunken outburst last year was by far his most charismatic act.
This was an incident that should never have been seen or heard, yet will go down in folk-lore in British history, especially if his song does eventually secure a number one.
On a weekend where the both national and international headlines are dominated by an anonymous hacking scandal that has compromised America’s feelings towards their own freedom of speech (a quite significant political event), there’s something remarkably hilarious about a drunk Londoner shooting to fame through a viral video.
The internet is a powerful tool which inevitably can be used for good and bad. The Wealdstone Raider and everything he symbolises is a clear advocate of the former.
He does not deserve it, but the Internet has got the Wealdstone Raider so many fans.