I love festive football. There’s a chill in the air, a cheer in voices and you’re unsure which day it is. It’s lucky that the Radio Times adds the day to the edge of the page.
Films, tangerines, nuts and football, what a time of the year! You don’t even notice Mrs. Brown’s Boy’s insultingly odious sentimentality or Eastenders’ needlessly depressive fug. I always think back to the joyous time when you could round off a Christmas Day’s TV with The Untouchables or Raiders Of The Lost Ark. I love Christmas because I loved Christmas. I love festive football.
It’s a time of wonderful sensations; the feel of new socks on cold feet, the disappointment caused by the misleading garment specifications on the website that provided your new coat and the sound of a joke with someone you haven’t seen since the last New Year’s Day match.
A Boxing Day match is served to me and it feels relatively good. The rough edges have been smoothed by Christmas cheer. By the final whistle I’ve realised that it’s no better or worse than usual. New Coats, New Socks, same feeling.
The result is immaterial. I’ve still got days off and a trip to Derby the next day. It’s cold but my cold nose reminded me I was alive. What a victory I’d seen well, well I’d seen a victory.
A Piers Morgan tweet about Aaron Ramsey floated out to my timeline. I thought I’d muted the arrogant popinjay. Here comes the block!
It’s Derby on an extra bank holiday. I broke my journey to buy some wax for my new coat in Birmingham. Derby’s an ok place to visit, I suspect that I could call it home. The away fans’ pub offers a welcome toilet break and a quizzical stare or two. It would seem that Birmingham fans have shamelessly ripped off FC United’s songbook.
The ground is better than TV had led you to believe. A middle aged away fan sat in front of me, he wore his jaunty scarf like a World War One fighter ace. There was a flag for every home fan. The match was cold, there was little to stir the soul but it didn’t matter, I still had days off and I’d finally seen a match in Derbyshire. I reached the station in time to get the train home. I may have found a technique to hurry along with cold feet.
The year draws to a close, it is a chance to end a chapter and draw a line in red pen. It’s a natural end to a unit of temporal resolution.
It may be the natural end to a unit of temporal resolution that may have included the death of your mother, political devastation through wilful ignorance and an ominous takeover of your football club.
You may be glad to see the back of the year but you’re nothing special. You’re merely an insect riding a spinning sphere of rock in the infinite void we call space. Nobody cares what you think or feel.
Anyway it’s out with the old in with the new ya miserable get!!! Cheer up and get the drinks in!
New Year’s Day always has the same feel, quiet contemplation. I try to open myself up to waves of hope, what will the new year bring? Positivity rears its head from the undergrowth. A new year, a new unit of temporal resolution, a new chapter in life’s story, new tales for your memoirs.
Stillness lends the first day of the year the air of a prelude to something good, a pregnant pause before the ascent to a better existence, a better life. This year you’ll do it right. The diet, the outlook, the holiday.
As you stand with your mates at the away match in your hometown you know that this year we’ll do it right, we’ll win the title, we’ll get to Europe,, we’ll win the play-offs, we’ll avoid relegation, we’ll sign some decent players in the transfer window, we’ll keep the same form, we’ll beat teams again.. We’ve had good days since August, we’ll have good days again.
Then you watch Llandudno score a goal that looked preventable. There’s the familiar lurch in your stomach, whereupon the pangs of disappointment neatly segue way to the familiarity of acceptance. Everyone wears a Spirit of ’58 hat.
It turns out the new year is just the same as the previous years in which you’ve existed.
2016 – Watch Football in Cold weather, feel bored, can’t feel fingers.
2017 – Watch Football in Cold weather, feel bored, can’t feel fingers.
I’ll miss more Wales matches, Bangor won’t win the league and Farage’s face will be on the news every day.
You’re still a mere insect on a spinning sphere in the infinite void we call space and still nobody will care what you think or feel.
At least there’ll be new trainers to buy, and more festive football to look forward to.