Ian (ringbark) wrote,

What is it about football?

First of all, I'm probably not the right person to ask. Although my father was a full-time Trade Union Official, and so theoretically needed know what made people tick and what their passions were, in facet hated the game and was indifferent to all sport. So I grew up with no such heritage, except that we had to know what the scores were so that we could talk at least a little bit intelligibly about the game.
My mother enjoyed tennis and cricket, actually, now I think about it, Dad did show an interest in one sport: badminton. No, no idea why that one shwould buck the trend.
So even though I grew up on Merseyside, where football is almost a religion, it passed us by, except that you had to support one of the teams, in my case Liverpool FC being the choice "because we're not Catholic" apparently.
But we always watched the FA Cup Final on television.

It was against this backdrop that I worked in London and chose Wembley as a place to stay. Price was the indicator, not the dirty great stadium by the hotel. It was an inconvenience on event nights because it was much harder to get back, but usually the prices of the romoms went up so I was staying somewhere else those nights anyhow. One Monday match night, most of the crowds had gone - I took my time because I wasn't in a hurry, and git talking to a time let tout trying to offload his last ticket and get off home: I don't blame him - it was freezing. I wasn't dressed for a cold night in a stadium and ID been up since stupid o'clock in the morning, so I declined his offer.

But it set me thinking: what *does* go in in that stadium? I decided to find out and on the next night there was a game, set off to see what it was all about. I thought the game might be sold out, but was pleasantly surprised to see a sign as I approached the stadium: tickets for tonight's game £30 cash only at Gate H. So I paid my shekels and went in. What a marvellous spectacle it all is! I must say that I was hooked straight away by the spectacle rather than by the game. That's still the case, making me the despair of those who can name all the England squads since 1923 or know exactly how many caps and how many goals everyone has scored... I'm just there for the experience.

Now, why away games? Well, there's a sort of excuse for going there. Their stadium will be a different experience, sometimes good, sometimes somewhat less good. But there's a chance to see a novel city for a couple of days too, quite possibly in a country that isn't normally . Place you'd think of going. The other issue is: if you are following a team overseas just for fun, which one should you follow? It's actually very easy. Rugby - 80 minute games - good. Football - 90 minute games - good. Cricket - 5 Day games - very bad indeed.

Probably not the answer you were expecting.

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