Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Saturday is football day

Graham Fisher in Editorial 3 May 2008


Saturday is here and the finger nails of many fans are getting shorter by the minute. The build up to the big game will be the same as ever. Maybe watch Soccer AM for a while in the morning. Read the Club website and fans forums to see if you get a clue about team selection or any injury news.

Read the paper to see if there’s anything in it about your club. Have the same lunch that you always have on match day and then think about heading off to meet your mates in the pub, at the chippy or at the ground, whatever the ritual always is.

You may have to resist the call to go shopping, mow the grass, clean the car, fix the tap or talk about anything other than football. You might even have to raise your feet off the ground and turn the television up if, horror of horrors; the vacuum cleaner is brought into your room. Hopefully, everyone who needs to know knows by now that Saturday is football day. Nothing else, just football, plain and simple.

How anyone can be expected to think about anything else, or even worse, do anything else, on a Saturday is beyond me. The feeling of excitement, nerves, tension and anticipation are there from the moment you wake up. Don’t disturb me. I’m in the zone, I’ve got to concentrate. I’ve got to focus on the game. If I get distracted, I will be letting the club down. Some people just don’t understand.

It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you support, the feelings and the ritual are just the same. You could be going to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United at the top of the Premier League or Wick Lane to watch Downton at the bottom of the Sydenhams Wessex League. You could be sharing the experience with 77,000 others or with 77 others. It doesn’t matter.

When you get to the ground you have to follow the usual routine. If you always get a programme than you must get a programme. If you don’t get one and your team lose, how will you ever know if things would have been different if you had bought one!?

A beer, a coke or a cup of tea, whatever you always have, and of course, a burger, hot dog or Mars Bar. ‘You’ve just been to the chippy,’ I hear you cry. Doesn’t matter, football isn’t football without a ‘salmonella burger’ or similar.

During the game you will become a useless, thoughtless moron with less than two brain cells to rub together. You are likely to hurl abuse at people you have never met and profess your undying love for grown men that again, you don’t actually know. You may well swear more in a ninety minute period than you do in the whole of the rest of the week. You may shed a tear or leap around like a three year-old. None of these things would you be seen dead doing at any other time or in any other place.

After the game you will either be feeling ten feet tall and ready to take on the world, or be suicidal and promise to anyone that happens to be in your vicinity that you have never seen such rubbish and will not, under any circumstances, set foot in the ground again.

You will obviously have the obligatory drink after leaving the ground so that you can sensibly analyse what you have seen. After the first couple you will start to see things very differently. If it was good, you will be talking of promotion, Europe, being the best club on the planet and what a great feeling being part of such a successful club is. If it was bad, you will have convinced yourself that you were unlucky, you have some great young players and next week, or next season, will be the turning point for the club’s fortunes.

On returning home the other half might suggest going out for a meal, to the cinema, for a drink or to see friends. Unreasonably, she might get a little bit upset with you when you tell her that you’ve had an emotionally draining day and you will only go out if you can be back in time for Match of the Day.

Then after next weekend we hit the barren waste of the close season, unless your team has made the play-offs. This year, in England, we haven’t even got the heroic failure on penalties to look forward to at the European Championships.

You need to keep active in the summer because it easy for boredom to set in without having any footy to watch. You are also met with a great deal of unreasonable behaviour from others. You’ve got a free Saturday so make the most of it. Then the other half says she wants to watch the tennis at Wimbledon. What a waste of a Saturday, there are so many other things you could be doing.


Graham Fisher



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