Football is ace

I still like football. I feel that I need to state this because I may have given the impression that the Jet Set is totally motivated by misanthropic misgivings. This entry will deal with the reasons why I still like football.

The sport of football has been described as the “game of the people”, the “beautiful game”, the “working class ballet” and a “permanent orgasm” (© Claude le Roy) and these clichés partly explain why I like football. However they don’t totally explain why I like football, I don’t find much beauty in Robbie Savage, John Terry or Ken Bates.

The starting point of my love for football is found in the visceral aesthetics of flowing football. There aren’t many better sights in football than a free-flowing move that ends with a sweetly struck shot past the keeper, especially if ball goes in off a post and spins at the foot of the net. From the other side the perfectly timed tackle and the spectacular save also have a distinctive charm. I like to view football as Bill Shankly did; football is a simple game and I can’t get enough of these simple movements and sensations.

The beauty of a flowing move enables me deal with anything, whether it’s the idiots and scallies that won’t allow us to enjoy this simple game as we would like, or Sky’s hyperbole, or Ashley Cole, John Terry and Robbie Savage, or morons in the pub etc etc. I only need to see the beauty of a flowing move and I will be in a sunnier place.

I think I must be an optimist at heart as I am always able to see the simple pleasure of football and the simple pleasure of spending hours in the company of good people. In short, I still like football.

Here are some reasons that explain why I like football.

1. Fanzines

I missed out on the big bang of DIY self-expression that brought forth fanzines for the same reason that I missed out on a lot of music scenes; I was too young. I may have missed the blossoming of youthful exuberance but I like to think that I experienced the golden age of fanzines.

My first experience of a fanzine was reading something that looked like a proper magazine; When Saturday Comes. I liked it’s humour and it’s style of writing. I really liked the articles on foreign football.

I was always fascinated the fanzine directory in the back, it was full of evocative names, from Arsenal’s “The Gooner” to Bradford’s “City Gent”, from Sunderland’s “A Love Supreme” to Sheffield Wednesday’s “Battle of the Monster Trucks”. The list also featured the best fanzine name ever; “Dial M for Merthyr”. (Incidentally I once met Dail M’s editor at a Wales match.) Even Colwyn Bay had a fanzine listed in it, “Claret and Booze” in case you’re wondering. After I read the fanzine directory I knew that I had to buy fanzines whenever I could.

The first proper fanzines I bought were a Liverpool one; “Through the Wind and Rain”, and a Welsh one, “Twlltin Pob…” (Incidentally Twlltin Pob…was the first thing that I ever bought from Farrar Road.) I liked their irreverence and iconoclasm but I mainly liked the swearing. Thanks to my excellently well-mannered upbringing owning a magazine that contained swearing felt like a slightly dangerous act.

Every time I go to a new ground I always try to find the fanzine vendors as it’s always nice to read something that cuts through the banalities of anodyne official programmes. It’s always nice to find out what only football fans think, it’s always nice to know that there the 20 reasons why Steve Bruce is a complete twat. A Fine Lung and The Mudhutter are two excellent examples of fanzines that are still being produced.

Over the last couple of years I’ve managed to pick up some old fanzines from Rhyl and Colwyn Bay and they have provided a very interesting snapshot of north Walian football in the early 1990s. It was also interesting to find out why their fans don’t like Bangor City. Colwyn Bay’s fans were pissed off about Bangor’s treachery when they joined the League of Wales whereas Rhyl’s fans were jealous that Bangor’s programme used to say that Bangor were the biggest non-league club in north Wales when we had the temerity to have this status.

Mind you I’ve read some crap fanzines in my time too. I remember reading a so-called Birmingham City fanzine that resembled a moron recruiting mag before a haircut and pitying the creators.

Get out there and buy one!!! If you can find them of course.

2. 1980s shirts

There was something stylish about 1980s shirts because designers were yet to add day-glo colours, symmetrical shapes and asymmetrical blobs. In the 1980s the most ostentatious detail was a pin stripe, some shirts even remained sponsorship-free. The 1980s was the last era where kits had simple, clean designs, look at these lovely examples;

Sadly the kit manufacturers haven’t always produced stylish kits since then.

3. Seeing late, late goals

There’s something magical about seeing a last minute goal. I’m not talking about witnessing any old last minute goal. I don’t mean last minute goals when your team is already 4-0 up or the last minute goals that your team concedes. I’m referring to the satisfying sort of last-minute goals; the equalisers and winners.

The feeling when you witness last-minute goal winners or equalisers is almost indescribable, the best I can manage is “massive emotional release”. When I typed goal in the last paragraph I inadvertently typed “gaol”, this was almost Freudian. An important last minute goal in your teams favour can sometimes feel like an unexpected reprieve from a punishment. (Obviously this is more figurative than literal). An important last minute goal is one of football’s rare occasions in football when all of your hopes come to fruition.

Late, late equalisers feel almost as good as winners, especially when you’ve been behind by more than one goal, and especially if your opponents have played like amoral twats by subjecting you to 90 minutes of whinging, incessant claiming, simulating and time-wasting.

Since Neville Powell became Bangor City manager in 2007 there have been many occasions when Bangor have scored important late, late goals; In November 2007 Bangor were losing 2-0 to Llangefni in the 88th minute, by the 93rd minute we had scored an equaliser. Two seasons ago karma caught up with the diving divvies of Airbus when we equalised in injury time. a few weeks before that match Jamie Reed scored two goals in injury time that meant Bangor City beat Aberystwyth 3-1. We have even scored late, late goals in Welsh Cup Finals; in the four consecutive Welsh Cup Finals of 2008-2011 there was a last-minute equaliser and an injury time winner.

I love late, late goals.

4. Trips to places you haven’t been to

I should give thanks to football for allowing me to see lots of the world. Without football providing a reason for travel I’m not sure I would have been to Glasgow, Graz, Altrincham, Blackburn, Jutland, Brussels, Saint Etienne, Wigan or Helsinki.

Without football I may not have seen as much of Wales either; I doubt I would have been to certain areas of Cardiff, Newport or Swansea and I certainly wouldn’t have been to Caersws, Guilsfield, Carmarthen or Llanelli either.

Without football the trips would not have taken place so without football my life would not feel as rich. I wouldn’t have such an intimate knowledge of Britain’s public transport system. I would know less about the differing local cultures of Britain and Europe. I would not have sampled the culinary delights that various areas of Europe offer; the Lamb Oggie, the Piri-piri chicken Baguette, the Frankfurter, the Foie Gras sandwich. I would not have visited 100s of pubs and bars. I wouldn’t have seen the homogenization of Britain’s urban centres with my own eyes.

Thank you football for giving me a taste of the “better life”!!!!

5. Trips abroad

Football trips are enhanced holidays; you still do the normal holiday stuff like sight-seeing but there’s also a football match in the sun to watch.

When you add the carousing, the singing, the fancy dress clothing, the sunshine, the carousing, the memories, the food and the carousing, a football trip can become a magical experience. Anyone that’s been on a football trips would agree about this.

The joy begins before you even leave home. First there’s the draw. This is the point when the anticipation begins; “Who will we play? Where will go? I hope we go somewhere new!!” If you’re a follower of a national team the anticipation is sometimes greater because the draw is made at least 18 months before the first match so you have ages to plan your expectations.

The anticipation goes up a notch when exact travel plans are formulated. At this stage you will be part of excited conversations…….. “Where did you get your flights from?” ……… “Where are you flying from?”………… “Where are you staying?”……….. “On aye, Mark stayed there last time, he said it was quite nice!!!”……. God forbid if you can’t go on the trip because this stage will begin grate after a bit.

In the weeks leading up to the trip you head will be filled by a thousand questions and a thousand hopes; How will it turn out? ….. Which sights will we see? ……. How drunk will the usual suspects get?…… Imagine how good it will be if we score!!! If you’re venturing into unknown territory the anticipation is even greater.

The football may be the primary reason for the trip but it’s almost incidental to the trip. You meet so many amazed people in your destination, a lot of people just won’t believe that you’ve gone all that way simply to watch a game of football.

It’s amazing to think how many people I’ve met, and friends I’ve made, on football trips abroad. Not only do you meet great people but you also get to know more about people you already know. Even if you see people every Saturday you don’t know that much about them, you generally only see them in a couple of settings, the pub and the ground. When you’re abroad with the same people you see how people truly are and this often leads to fantastic experiences.

We haven’t even touched “The memories”. Let’s just say that the stories will be something that you can share for years afterwards. For example the highlights of my trip to Denmark in 2008 always make me smile. Here’s a few; on the way to the Aarhus hostel I thought that I’d found I shop that selling Kalashnikov rifles yet an hour later the shop had disappeared; on the first the evening an exiled Cardiff fan in Aarhus fixed his pub quiz for us then Huw P sang the arse out of Sweet Caroline in a Karaoke pub; on the day of the match we had an impromptu fans’ match 2 hours before the match and 60 Bangor fans constantly sang and conga’d for the entire match, on the last day I nearly missed the plane home because I overslept,  I arrived with five minutes to spare thanks to a mute taxi driver. The trip was magical and it didn’t matter that we were 6-1 down from the first leg.

And there was my trip to see Wales play Trinidad & Tobago in Austria. I spent virtually 36 hours travelling on my own in order to spend 3 and a half hours in Graz, and then it rained all day when I made it back to Salzburg. Great times indeed.

These memories may not sound very impressive to an outside ear but they will last forever in my mind. After each trip the memories  will be easily shared at every opportunity to ensure a few laughs at the opportune moment. Football trips are quite simply magic!!

6. Conversations with people

I’m not talking about having conversations about football with people. I can’t think of anything worse than entering into a debate with a person that believes they are a football fan because they shout at television screens in pubs.

I’m talking about the conversations that you have with the people who go to matches with you. These conversations will cover every topic imaginable; food, politics, football, music, films, holiday memories, existentialism, you don’t even need to talk about football!!!! Some of the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had have taken place at football matches. Spending time with good people is what being a football fan is all about.

7. Meeting people

A common interest in football has provided many friendships over the years. This method of making friends began in primary school.

As I said above football is a social activity so it’s bound to facilitate the making of friendships, it’s bound to bring people together. It’s amazing who I’ve bumped into just because they happen to like football; Welsh musicians, soap actors, Sgorio journalists, authors of award winning blogs, actors, presenters of wildlife programmes on the television …….

I always find it amazing when I think about how many people I’ve met because of football over the years. At Bangor I must have met several hundred people because they simply wanted to come to Bangor. Some of them even became regular fans because they loved the experience so much; a Canadian freelance photographer, a university lecturer in French and long distance Millwall fan from Yorkshire are only three examples.

On the way to Bangor matches I’ve met Meic Stevens the musician, a bloke that goes to Tranmere games in the same car as Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit and a Merthyr fan that liked my flags when he saw them on S4C.

I have met and befriended opposition fans. There’s Nigel, Mark and the rest of the gang at Port Talbot, plus the good people at Airbus. I have even met and befriended foreign fans; I’m still very much in touch with fans from Midtjylland like Hekler and Amer.

Then there’ s the internet. Thanks to twitter, new avenues of football friendship have opened up. It only took a few quick tweets and I’d met Rob and Ian from 200% in Chester’s ground, It was the same when I met Jon and Rhodri at Carmarthen. Facebook also led me to hook up with Hekler and the boys from Midtjylland.

Message boards also have their place for developing friendships as there’s so much space to express your thoughts well. This led to the building of great relations between Bangor City and Port Talbot Town fans.

This blog has also led to good human contacts. Some fine writers, like the people behind “The Two Unfortunates” and comrades like the Hibby Boys, Ricardo and the Portuguese lads have been in touch over the years. I may not have met all these people yet but it’s nice to think football has allowed people from various parts of the world to contact each other.

This is surely one of the better things about football.

8. Danny Baker

Of all the presenters, panellists and pundits that opine on the beautiful game Danny Baker is the best. He’s the only person that I can think of that doesn’t resort to drivel and cliché.

In fact, Baker actively avoids clichés by preferring to talk about the incidentals around the game. He’ll ask questions like; “What’s the oddest shape pitch you’ve ever played on” and “Can we makes a players out of all the body parts that players have injured?” to fill his shows. This approach is a darn sight better than listen to than the crap Lovejoy, Savage and the other twats come out with. He also made the best funny football out-takes videos.

200 percent has an archive of Danny Baker (with Danny Kelly) material so you can here how good he is for yourself.

9. Discovering clips on You Tube

It’s a fantastic pleasure to discover things on you tube, whether that’s things you’ve forgotten about, things you haven’t discovered yet or just plain odd things. Some examples;

Remember, never overlook the clips in the sidebar when you’re viewing You Tube. Viewing gold may lie in those clips!!!

10. Rediscovering old programmes and magazines

See this post.

11. Fashion

I’ve always loved football-related fashion because it seemed to be the preferred style of the best dressed people. For years I didn’t know the style was football-related because like all north Walian teenagers I was ignorant of cultural nuance, or to put it another way, I was a bit of a woollyback.

If you had asked me I would not have been able to precisely define, or even tell you the name of the style that I liked. I only knew two vague things about it; the style’s general look; smart trainers and jeans, and where to see it; the streets of Liverpool and Manchester.

When I was a teenager we would often make family visits to Liverpool or Manchester. Whilst we were there I always noticed the trainers that lads wore. This footwear came from the cutting edge of style, their look felt unobtainable, light years away from what was available in Llandudno

I had a desire for sportswear even before I started visiting the north western cities. Adverts like this one, from the back of the Wales v Spain programme were to blame;

In 1985 my only interest in the Gazelles was the particular shade of green. I didn’t know about the cultural trends attached to wearing certain clothes, there was no way that I could know.

Over the next few years I became fascinated by the world that seemed to be offered by 1980s sportswear. Those trips to the north west planted certain ideas in my mind. When I watched tennis on tv the ideas began to germinate. I wanted the styles worn by Borg (as seen in old clips), Becker and Edberg. I used to paw over the photospreads of players at home in Shoot! and Match because they were wearing similar styles as the tennis players. I wanted those styles so much!!!! The link with footballers meant I wanted the stuff all the more.

Whenever I went to sports shops (at a time when sports shop were actually manned by people who knew what they were talking about) I saw adverts containing trainers of a certain style and I wanted those trainers, I wanted those polo shirts!!

As a tennis fan in the 1980s I was fully aware of names Fila and Sergio Tacchini. Such name spoke of playboys at the tennis club in Monte Carlo and living the good life;

Unfortunately the stuff felt unobtainable. I was such a nice child I didn’t pressure my parents into trying to find stuff for me, I only had vague ideas about getting the stuff anyway. I was obviously still unaware that a footballing subculture was related to the style.

The French must share some of the burden for the development of my burning desire; whenever our school had French exchange students they wore such exotic adidas footwear I couldn’t help but want a pair. One of my friends had a copy of the monthly French football magazine Onze Mondial and this made my longing even greater.

In the back of the magazine there was an advert for a shop called “FOOT CENTRE”. This magical and mythical shop offered a range of football shirts and sportswear, the advert turned my dreams into colour pictures. I fantasised about the mythical stock that the shop contained. The objects appeared to be tantalisingly in reach, all I needed to do was fill out the order form. In reality there were a couple of snags with this; a french order form is not like a British order form plus I needed to pay in francs. The objects of my desire were so close yet still so far away still. I couldn’t see a way to past my problem of getting at home either; I was clueless and penniless.

By the time I was able to gather funds through legalised child labour in the catering industry my naive mind still caused problems. I thought the catalogues from the family next door would be good enough, how was I to know that streetwise people didn’t shop with Great Universal? I was still a woollyback in a streetwise world.

Since growing up I have managed to find out the name for my cherished style; “the Casual look”. Through reading around the subject and talking to other people I’ve found out that the look that I saw on the streets of the north west was actually a slight development on the original Casual style from the early to mid 1980s.

Thanks to the internet I finally have access to the look I’ve craved all these years. As a consequence I have Llandudno’s largest collection of reproduction adidas trainers. I know that in a strict casual sense the reproduction sportswear is a bit of a cliche, and therefore bit of a no-no, but I’m not in to alpha male nihilism, I just like the trainers and some of the clothes.

12. Witnessing your team getting hammered

Watching your team win is all fine and dandy, and watching your team hammer another has a certain charm but these outcomes don’t tell you much, apart from the fact that your team has scored more than the other team, the hammering goes a bit further in that it tells you that the other team didn’t play very well. Neither of the results teaches you anything about life, neither allows spiritual growth.

On a superficial level watching your team hammer opponents appears to be very satisfying but this is pure illusion. When your team starts to dish out a real hammering you can actually end up feeling a little frustrated. For example imagine that your team is leading 4-0 after 40 minutes. Of course you’ll feel happy about this but will you remain happy? The scoreline offers hopes of seeing a record score but you can’t control the situation. Invariably the scoring will stop and you’ll have to deal with failure of those hopes. This is not a good feeling.

The situation can become even worse if you manage to see your team score their 5th or 6th goal. This may seem even better on a superficial level but in these circumstances one person’s joy is another’s humiliation. What kind of person actually truly enjoys seeing people humiliated?

What sort of heartless shit will see hurt in the opposition keepers’ eyes, or the resigned slouch of his shoulders, and then wish further embarrassment upon him? Watching your team hammer another does no good for a fans’ spiritual side. You gain nothing from humiliating an opponent.

Watching your team suffer a hammering is the most beneficial result for your soul. This statement may sound odd to the lay person but who really cares what they think, they usually know nothing. You benefit from a hammering in several ways;

Firstly your soul benefits from watching a humiliation; by witnessing a humiliation you have to deal with the humiliation. To successfully deal with the so-called humiliation you have to remain on a spiritual even keel. By remaining on an even keel you become a zen master. When you’re a zen master, nothing will ever faze you again, nothing in life and nothing on a football pitch, your soul will remain in equilibrium.

Secondly, it helps you to put the events in football matches, and life, into some kind of perspective.

Lastly, if glory comes too easily it’s a glory that’s not worth having. Witnessing humiliation is therefore a necessary stop on the road to glory.  Without a hammering I doubt that you would appreciate the glory when it comes. Indeed if your journey does not take in some form of humiliating defeat can you say you deserve to see the glory?

There are other, less spiritual, up sides to witnessing a hammering. Any idiot can enjoy the time that your side dishes out a hammering, and they often do, hammerings draw gloating idiots in the same way baying mobs draw morons, everybody wants the reflected glory. Idiots invariably choose me as their Maypole for dancing around.

It’s weird when people turn up and celebrate as if the result actually means something. Sometimes these people even go off their heads with joy and start gloating. How can you enjoy the moment properly with people like that around you? There is no kudos in excessively gloryfying momentary success, especially when you’re a stranger to the people around you.

If you’re after kudos there is some to be had in uttering the immortal words; “Yeah very good, I see you’re enjoying our title win, but where were you when we lost 9-0 in the league cup?” Watch their unearned jollity crumble. It takes someone special to not only witness a hammering, but grow from it.

Plebians merely watch a hammering, the special few grow from the experience. In short I take the Lutheran point of view ; a little suffering is good for the soul.

13. The spirit of Ultra culture

When you see amazing displays of colour at football matches this is the mark of the Ultras. The displays don’t just happen, they need organizing, so the Ultras organise. The giant banners that you see at matches don’t just happen. A banner needs to be designed, then material needs to be bought, then the banner actually needs to be made. Ultras organise all this to help create the right display. The spirit of the ultras is vital for spectacle in football.

For example take the card displays that happen at British grounds they don’t just happen. They need physical help and computers to make them happen. Without the spirit of the Ultras they wouldn’t happen.

The spirit of the Ultras influenced me to make flags for Bangor City and people seem to like them. The spirit has influenced the good people at Port Talbot too. Football needs flags and banners, therefore football needs the spirit of the ultras.

Without the spirit of the Ultras football would be blanded into another branch of the grey leisure industry.

14. The anticipation

Without this there is nothing.

You wouldn’t get out of bed with a smile upon your face, you wouldn’t walk down the street with a skip in your step, your thoughts wouldn’t be taken over by fantastic possibilities, you wouldn’t spend all week looking forward to Saturday. It’s easy enough to think of examples that shows the place of anticipation but it’s probably more effective to ask what life would be without anticipation ……………….

Well I’ve had a thought about that, I don’t think I would like that version of the world. Football constantly gives me a sense of anticipation.

15. The Adidas Tango

The adidas Tango is simply best football ever made  and I love it for this reason. I don’t mean I love it in that ironic “Weren’t the 1980s fantastic” kind of way (Thank you E4 and Top Man) and I don’t mean I love it in that laddish Four Fout Two kind of way either. I mean it it in the old fashioned love of objects way. I actually think that the adidas Tango is the most beautiful ball ever created.

The curved Tango shape moves a game more gracefully than any other ball and this is why I love the Tango, it makes football look better.

When I was younger I used to like watching “Race for the Championship” video review of the 1983-’84 season. I remember a goal from a Norwich City v Notts County match more than anything else. A Norwich player, I forget which one, scored with a 20 yard shot that had a parallel trajectory to the ground. It was quite a special goal anyway but the Tango made this goal look even better. On the action reply the Tango shape gave the ball an even more beautiful trajectory.

When I was younger I wanted a Tango and luckliy I was given a rather good Tango for christmas one year. When I developed an interest in Subbuteo there was only one style of ball that I was going to have

I liked the Tango so much I even had trainers with a Tango design;

The basic Tango design was so good they used a ball based on it in every World Cup and European Championships from 1978-2000. Of all the other examples I particularly liked the Azteca from Mexico ’86.

When adidas announced the Tango shape was due to make a return for Euro 2012 I couldn’t help but feel happy, sadly the final design was pale imitation of history.

16. Segregation

I don’t like the reasons behind segregation but I like the effect it creates in grounds. I like to see a crowd where there are distinctive colour blocks.

17. Getting Lost in Wikipedia

If you’ve never gone on a Wikipedia safari you should. I can’t recommend it highly enough as it’s amazing what you can find out during its course.

A Wikipedia safari is the easiest thing in the world to go on. All you need to is click on some of the blue hyperlinks when they take your fancy. It’s amazing where they will take you. After one 2011 safari I knew the following;

– West Germany played part of West Germany (The Sarrland) during the 1954 world cup qualifiers.

David Rocastles’ Cousin, Craig, plays in the MLS, as does Konrad Warzycha, the son Ex-Everton player Robert Warzycha .

– Ex Liverpool and Newcastle goalkeeper Mike Hooper is now a Door Supervisor, that’s bouncer to you and me.

– In Puerto Rico there is both a River Plate and a Sevilla, in Baltimore (U.S.A of A) there’s another Crystal Palace.

– Ex-Everton shortarse Adrian Heath now manages the Orlando City Soccer Club.

– Roy Wegerle was voted NASL Rookie of the Year in 1984.

– The Brooklyn Bridegrooms and Boston Beaneaters were once professional clubs in America, as were the Harrison Alley Boys .

76 countries have qualified for at least one world cup and 27 countries have appeared at the European Championships.

Rainer Bohnhof is the only player to have played in 3 European Championship finals.

Catalonia, the Basque Country, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are members of the European Union of Futsal.

The USSR and Wales made their World cup final debuts in the same year.

Why not try it for yourself, it’s bit of fun.

18. Looking at football photos

There’s nothing to this, you just look at photos and use your imagination. Try to imagine what it felt like to be around then, try to imagine what happened just before the picture was taken. Try to imagine what’s happening;

(A big acknowledgement to Footy Sphere for finding some of these)

19. Playing in defence

Strikers may get all the glory but your football aficionado will know that the success of team is built on the sturdy foundations made by a sturdy defence. The fancy dans up front may be the pin ups but without the steely defence they would not be able to flounce around.

If football is a house the defence is not only the foundations it’s also the main load-baring wall; it takes the strains placed upon it and remain in place. The defence is also mortar between the bricks of the house; the defence hold things together. The defence is also the bathroom and washing machine; it cleans everything up. The defence is also the spare key that’s attached to a string by the letterbox; it also rescues hopeless situations. The defence is the key to football.

When you’re a defender you gladly accept the historic responsibility that is placed upon you. You wear your badge of honour with pride. When I played in defence I gained such a special satisfaction from blocking shots, tackling people and dispossessing others that I began to take on the persona of Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”. After a while I literally exuded authority, which led to the moniker “The Wall” from the denizens of Llandudno’s cultural quarter.

In one legendary match – a match that is still talked of in Llandudno’s not very easily pleased cultural quarter – I performed my defensive duties which such aplomb that the right winger swapped sides. This is the ultimate admission of failure from an attacking player and it was the first time that Llandudno had seen this event in the flesh. At the time I remember that this was particularly satisfying as the loudmouthed balding twat fancied himself as a bit of a player.

Here’s how the legendary match panned out; for the first few times that I beat him to the ball he remained calm. Then I kept on beating him to the ball and the muttering started, there is no sweeter sound than this for a defender. After the next few times he started swearing at his teammates, as if it was their fault he couldn’t beat me. He tried nudging me, he tried pushing me but that didn’t work, he tried leaving his foot in and I laughed to myself. I’d got him in my pocket. Then he swapped sides, so I followed him and stopped him time after time. I felt an enormous sense of well-being at the end of the match.

Strikers have a tangible and self-glorifying sense of glory, defenders have a more self-effacing style of glory. We have a quite determination to keep the score at nil. We are proper players, we are proper men, we are complete men.

20. The official world cup films

I like the official world cup film because they provide a different view of the action. For example the Mexico ’70 film used cameras on the opposite side of the Azteca Stadium from the TV camera.

All of the world cup films are great but Hero is my favourite. Here it is;








21. FC United of Manchester

I loved the idea of FC United so much I became a member. I’ll let these two films explain why I felt I had to become a member.

The best thing about FC United is that it proves that there is another way of doing things, especially in the light of what we’re all up against;

“Glazers oppose Man Utd fans protecting Old Trafford”

22. Classic Kits

I love classic kits, I really love kits with a chest band




I really love kits with a sash




I really love kits with an asymmetrical stripe down one side



Soccer - 2014 FIFA World Cup - Qualifier - Group A - Wales v Scotland - Cardiff City Stadium

I love it when a sense of history plays a part in new kits.



23. Football Clubs mean something

A week last Saturday I was waiting outside Nantporth for a lift to Carmarthen. Having time to kill I went to have a look at the wall of fans’ bricks.

Oct 12 012

I’ve seen plenty of supporters’ walls in my time and I was at the Supporters’ Association meeting where we decided to create a fans’ wall, and it was hardly the first time that I’d seen the bricks yet I’d obviously failed to connect our idea to it’s potential image in Bangor. During that morning’s time killing I began to see things more clearly.

When I gazed at the wall that morning something clicked; I finally realized that I was looking at a profound expression about the community of Bangor and something that highlights the symbiotic relationship between a football club and a community of people. You can see the ties of friendship and community in the nicknames that feature on the bricks.

Every brick is redolent of the connection between the club and the city; fans of every age and background are represented, as are generations of family members. There are even memorials to well-loved people. It is staggering to comprehend the experiences that the wall symbolises.

It’s staggering to contemplate the memories that the people featured on the wall would have. They will have seen our glorious European history featuring Napoli, Atletico and all the rest, they will have been to Wembley, they will have seen epic Welsh Cup runs, they will have seen Bangor play all over England and Wales. The people would have many a tale to tell about all the memorable matches, goals and friendships. It is quite humbling to realise that you’re a small part of such a historical procession.

When you think of some of the clubs in the Welsh system the wall makes you grateful that you’re a Bangor fan. The other clubs may have the success but they don’t have the ties to a community like Bangor has.



I will continue to add to this list when the mood takes me.

One response

13 09 2013
Jac o' the North (@JacotheNorth)

Wonderful, evocative, entertaining, but . . . Llandudno has a “cultural quarter”?

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