I don’t think I get football any more

24 04 2011

Last Tuesday, when I was in Port Talbot, a player from the Welsh Schools side lay on the ground. He’d been fouled and the foul had obviously hurt him.

Consequently the referee stopped play, consequently some bloke (The first bloke) shouted  “Jesus man, it’s not a head injury. There’s no need to stop play!!!!” . It was as if he felt human evolution depended on this moment. Consequently another bloke (The second bloke – seated roughly 10 seats away from the first bloke) said “It could be a head injury”. Consequently a mate of the first bloke (The third bloke) realised that his mate’s honour was at stake  so he shouted at the second bloke; “What was that you fucker? Shut the fuck up!! etc etc” Consequently the second bloke said something unintelligible. Consequently the third bloke wanted to attack the second bloke. Consequently a fourth bloke told the third bloke to calm down. Me and another bloke shook our heads.

Secretly I felt ashamed I couldn’t get worked up over a friendly between two Welsh sides (a Welsh schools u18 side and an FAW u18 side) to celebrate the centenary of the Welsh Schools’ FA. I wondered if I was a real fan.

This feeling returned yesterday when I was watching Cardiff. (I had borrowed Phil’s season ticket for the Cardiff v QPR match). I enjoyed the match even though I felt the tension inherent in such a match.

The tension did funny things to people. Bothroyd smashed a goal in and one bloke lost control of himself, he actually looked like he’d been possessed. Then QPR equalised and despondency enveloped him. For the next 20 minutes he muttered, shouted and swore loudly at his erstwhile heroes. For some reason he didn’t offer any encouragement. Then Cardiff scored again and he was possessed again; singing, dancing, asking the QPR fans what the score was. He was back to moaning when QPR scored their second equaliser.

I thought his behaviour was a touch odd as he’d brought his family with him (I was sitting in the family section). Evidently I wasn’t the only person to find his behaviour odd; the bloke at the end of the row smiled an incredulous smile. You have to wonder why the possessed bloke goes to football matches, he doesn’t seem to enjoy the experience.

The sort of behaviour displayed by the possessed bloke seems to influence others. This idea is almost scientific fact; they say that “humans evaluate the acceptability of behavior using social norms and regulate behavior by means of social control”. Younger fans are often  sponges for this social behaviour; cheeky monkey see, cheeky monkey do.

The kids of possessed man also gesticulated at the away fans; other kids gesticulated at the away fans; one kid banged his seat like he was about to have a tantrum when any Cardiff attack failed; another kid kept shouted, with all the authority that an 8 year can muster,  “GET TO HIM!!!!” whenever QPR got anywhere near Cardiff’s area .

Again I wondered why I couldn’t get this worked up over a football match. Again I wondered if I was a proper fan?

Then last night, as if going through an existential crisis wasn’t enough, I realised I know nothing about football.

About 4 months ago I was clearly an expert in football, I knew Bangor would win the league. We were slaying allcomers. A month and a half later I was still an expert, we may have lost 2 games in January but we’d nearly beaten XXX XXX XXXXXX on their five-a-side pitch. We were still there!!!

Then Neath beat us. Then Llanelli scored their equaliser in the sixth of four injury time minutes. Then XXX XXX XXXXXX  beat us. The game seemed up, the season was going from “Great” to “Dodgy”

Then we played Port Talbot at Ffordd Farrar; we heard XXX XXX XXXXXX  were drawing, then we heard they were losing, then we heard they were drawing again. It didn’t matter really as we were beating Port Talbot, we’d go further ahead of them!!!! Then Port Talbot scored an injury time equaliser. Then XXX XXX XXXXXX won their game in hand. The tension was horrible.

The season went from “Dodgy” to “Disaster” – We were second in the league,out of contention. All of a sudden we were “a joke”, or at least that’s what my sources told me. Then Llanelli beat us 5-1 at home, the pressure was off, we weren’t going to win the league. My sources now told me that we were more of a joke.

I didn’t see it like this, the league situation obviously wasn’t good after the start we’d had but the tension since the end of January had been horrible. When I realised that finally Bangor weren’t going to win the league it was partly a relief. I knew our form hadn’t been good, and I knew that we’d blown a 15 point lead but I had made peace with these ideas. Life goes on as they say (plus “If you’d have told me at the start of the season that we’d be in another final and second in the league with three games to go I’d have bitten your hand off, blah, blah, blah, blah”.)

Then XXX XXX XXXXXX lost on Friday and Bangor won yesterday.

We can win the league again.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

The lovely horrible tension is building in the pit of my stomach as I type.

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12 08 2011
Just the time for last season’s match reports! « Llandudno Jet Set

[…]  It was a hot day and some of Cardiff’s modern architecture is very interesting. Port Talbot was rather hot too. The Taffy Apples in the clubhouse were particularly refreshing. We thought a shady area was the best position. Unfortunately it was also in the shade where this half-arsed altercation happened. […]

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