Does anyone actually love football? I mean truly love it? After another gut-wrenching ninety minutes of incredible lows – interjected with the odd thirty seconds of unadulterated joy – I find myself asking who actually enjoys putting themselves through this kind of torture?
In a season that spans forty-odd games, you go through every conceivable emotion; from unbridled joy to the depths of despair (and everything in between). You love players, you hate players; you want to beat certain teams because you’re convinced that you despise them – and all their supporters. You want to beat teams because their manager is a “ginger git” who once said something that wasn’t that positive about your own team.
Let’s face it, you don’t like anyone, and want to beat them all – and when you don’t, well you hate your own team, your manager, your chairmen and maybe even the woman behind the bar (because she didn’t serve you quickly enough). Let’s face it there’s a lot of hatred in football.
So why do we do it? Why do we continue to hand over our hard-earned cash just to put ourselves through this emotional roller coaster? I pay £400 to sit next to a bloke that’s an idiot. He thinks that Albert (Adoma) is our best player, and probably the best player in the league. I know that he isn’t. As Albert couldn’t cross the road, it stands to reason that the bloke next to me is an idiot. Fact. I told you we hate everyone.
Come next Saturday though, when Albert scores the winning goal that send us up to the ‘promised land’, I will be jumping up and down uncontrollably hugging this idiot like he was my… well, actually I don’t know what. I love my missus, and I love my family, but apart from Christmas’s and Birthdays when my Mam will get a kiss on the cheek and my Dad a firm handshake (he’s a proper Northerner), all they normally get is a “Hi” and a “Bye”. The missus gets a kiss on the forehead as I leave the house and whence I return, yet this idiot gets me jumping up and down with him for God-knows how long screaming my head off… why do we do that? Did I do that when the missus bought me Sky Sports this week? Apparently not – although inside I was bouncing like a toddler on acid – I took the reserved option and told her she was “the best”!
Personally, and maybe controversially, I think there’s the difference between a football supporter and a football fan. A supporter supports his/her club and that’s it. Nothing else matters, no other team is given any consideration; and the only reason we allow ourselves to watch other teams play is the perpetual hope of seeing another team lose and their supporters suffer. We like that.
A football fan is the guy who watches Super Sunday from the comfort of an armchair – a pretender to the throne of ‘supporter’ who believes he/she is as ‘qualified’ to converse with you on all matters football…like how wonderful it is that Leicester are going to win the league. Well it isn’t pal, I hope they chuck it away on the last day so I can watch their fans suffer and laugh at them just like they did to us in ‘97 when Heskey scored an injury-time equaliser in the cup final.
That’s what being a football supporter is all about; hating every other team, hating your team when they lose, hating the players who don’t perform, hating the players that perform well against you, hating their manager because he’s a Geordie, hating your manager because he’s Spanish, hating the idiot next you because he doesn’t see the game in the same way as you, and hating the way you hug him when your team scores in a way you’ve not hugged your missus for years.
There’s a lot of hatred in football…and not much love.
So I’ve renewed for next season, because next year is going to be our year…although I don’t love football, it appears I can’t live without it.