20 Things I love about football – Part Two

24 12 2011

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 nuances,  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 its name, the style that I liked. I only knew two things for definite about the style;  it’s general look; smart trainers and jeans, and where to find 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 seemed to notice that lads wore trainers  light years away from what was available in Llandudno.  Their look felt unobtainable. Their footwear came from the cutting edge of style.

I already had a desire for sportswear before I started visiting the north western cities. Adverts like the one on 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, there was no way I could, about the cultural trends attached to wearing certain clothes.

Over the next few years I became  fascinated by the world offered by 1980s sportswear. Those trips to the north west put certain ideas in my mind. I also watched tennis on tv.  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 and I wanted those shoes, I wanted those shirts!! 

 

Unfortunately the stuff still felt unobtainable. I was such  a nice child I didn’t pressure my parents into trying to find stuff for me. Even though I had a clear idea of the style I was 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 to own a certain style of sportswear. Whenever our school had French exchange students they wore such exotic adidas footwear I couldn’t help but want some. 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 that I could only dream of. Thanks to the advert my dreams became colour pictures in front of my eyes. I fantasised about the 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. Therefore the sportswear was still an unobtainble ideal. I didn’t know where I could lay my hands on it in Britain and I lacked my own money. I couldn’t see a way to past this problem. 

By the time I was able to gather funds through legalised child labour I still had problems. In my naive mind I thought I knew where I could get the stuff from!!! All I needed to do was order stuff from the catalogues that were owned by the family  next door!!! Unfortunately 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.

I may have liked what I saw in the late ’80s but I have grown to love the original style. Because I liked tennis in the 1980s the names Fila and Sergio Tacchini already had a certain resonance, they spoke of playboys at the tennis club in Monte Carlo. They spoke of living the good life; 

The resonance became even stronger when my love of 1980s sportswear intertwined with my love of the casual style. 

There has been good news in the last few years; the 1980s and the casual look have become fashionable. Thanks to the internet I finally have access to the look I’ve craved. 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 probably a bit of a cliche, and therefore bit of a no-no, but I’m not a casual. I just like the threads. I simply rejoice that I can finally wear stuff that I’ve wanted for ages.

In case you’re wondering I don’t endorse all aspects of casual culture, I can do without the violence and right-wing tinges. I just like the threads. In my own stupid mind the casuals were a re-incarnation of the 1960s mods and I like that.

12. Witnessing you 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. The only clear thing that both results  tell you is that your team has scored more than the other team. The hammering goes a bit further because it tells you that the other team didn’t play very well, but that’s it. Neither of those possible match outcomes teaches you anything about life, they don’t allow 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 may even end up feeling  a little frustrated. For example one day you may be watching your team and they happen to be leading 4-0 after 40 minutes. Of course this will probably make you feel happy but, will you remain happy? The scoreline offer hopes of seeing a record score but you can’t control the situation. Invariably the scoring does stop. Consequently you have to deal with failure of those hopes. This is not a good feeling. 

The situation can become even worse if you manage see your team score the 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? Which human will see hurt in the opposition keepers’ eyes, or the resigned slouch of his shoulders, and then wish futher 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 succesfully deal with the so-called humiliation you have 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 balanced.

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

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 like 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.

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 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

The world of the Ultras is mis-understood. To a lot of people an Ultra is a hooligan, a fighter, a scumbag with a scarf around their faces to protect them from the police’s tear gas or a right-wing psychopath that showers black players with racial abuse. This is obviously a narrow view of ultras. Ultras, accoding to Wikipedia are;

“………a type of sports fans renowned for their fanatical support and elaborate displays. They are predominantly European followers of football teams. The behavioral tendency of ultras groups includes the use of flares (primarily in tifo choreography), vocal support in large groups and the displaying of banners at football stadiums, all of which are designed to create an atmosphere which encourages their own team and intimidates opposing players and supporters.”

When you see fantastic pyrotechnics and amazing displays 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 either. 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 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,  I tried to introduce a little of Serie A into the Welsh Premier League by doing this 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 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 morte 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 ball ever 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 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. 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”, the Video review of the 1983-’84 season. I remember a goal from a Norwich City v Notts County match more than anything else. Basically a Norwich player scored with a 20 yard shot that had a trajectory that  was parallel to the ground. It was quite a special goal anyway but the Tango made this goal look even better than it was.

On the action reply the ball seemed to spin through the air as it flew into the goal at great speed. The Tango shape appeared to give the ball a more beautiful trajectory. The goal looked even better because the ball span at the foot of the net.

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 baring it in every World Cup and European Championships from 1978-2000. Of all the other examples I particularly liked the Azteca from Mexico ’86.  I have such cherished images of the Tango shape from World football I can’t help but be attracted to its image.

When adidas announced the Tango shape was due to make a return for Euro 2012 I couldn’t help but feel happy.

16. Segregation

I don’t like the point behind segregation but I like the effect it creates in stadium. I like to see a crowd where there are distinctive colour blocks as it’s a great sight. You can see the effect of colour in the following examples;

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 my latest safari I now know 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 afficienado 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 with the ball.

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

When you’re a defender you gladly accept the historic resposibility that is placed upon you. You wear your badge of homour with pride. When I played in defence I gained such a special satifaction from blocking shots, tackling people and disposessing others that I began to take on the persona of Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”. I literally exuded authority and this 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 bigmouth 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 and the muttering started, there is no sweeter sound than this for a defender.  After the next few times he started swearing at his teamamtes, 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-efacing 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;

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

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20 reasons why I love football, Part One

22 12 2011

If you’re like me the moment that John Terry appears in our media you get lost in the moment. You are so busy wishing that  John Terry receives a lifetime ban the world passes you by. Luckily I chanced across the “500 Reasons to love Football” blog  yesterday and my misanthropic reverie was interrupted for once. 

I only read reasons 379-385 but it was enough to make me realise that sometimes I’m too much of a moaning get. In honour of the festive period I have decided to write about some of the things that I actually love about the so-called “slightly attractive game”.

1. Fanzines

I missed the emergence of the football fanzine. I missed the big bang of  DIY self-expression for the same reason that I missed 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, the time when this genre of literature reached full maturity. 

My first experience of  a fanzine was reading something that looked like a proper magazine. It was called When Saturday Comes. I liked the humour, I liked the style of writing and I liked the articles on foreign football. I really liked the fanzine directory in the back; even Colwyn Bay had a fanzine!!! It was called “Claret and Booze” in case you’re wondering.

The names in the directory was very evocative,  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”. Then you had the fanzine with surely the best name ever; “Dial M for Merthyr”. After I read the fanzine directory I decided that I would 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 like their irreverence and their 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 check if either set of  fans produce a fanzine, if they do I always try to find the vendors. Fanzines cut through the banalities of the anodyne official programme to provide a real taste of what football is like, like why Steve Bruce is a complete twat. It”s always good to know what other fans think and fanzines tell us what they think.

In the last year or so 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 – like the thing that purported to be a Birmingham City fanzine,  but looked more like a BNP  recruiting mag, I once read while waiting for a haircut.

Get out there and buy one!!!

2. 1980s shirts

(I couldn’t choose 1980s kits because the shorts were indecently short and the sock were just well socks.)

The 1980s was the last era where kits were simple clean designs. There was something stylish about 1980s shirts because designers were yet to add day-glo colours, symmetrical shapes and asymmetrical blobs. There was just something crisp about the design; the most ostentatious design was a pin stripe. Sometimes the shirt didn’t have a sponsor.

Look at these lovely examples;

Sadly the kit manufacturers haven’t always produced stylish kits since the 1980s. For example;

3. Seeing late, late goals.

There’s something magical about seeing a last minute goal.

I must clarify this statement, I’m not talking about any old last minute goal.  I’m not talking about watching the last minute goals that your team scores when they are already 4-0 up and I’m obviously not talking about watching the  last minute goal your team concedes either. Witnessing either of these types of last minute goal is not satisfying. The kind of last-minute goals that I’m referring to are the satisfying ones; when your team scores an equaliser or winner.

The feeling you feel when you see your team score an important last-minute goal is almost indescribable. The best way that I can describe it is as a feeling of massive emotional release. When I typed goal in the sentence that preceded the last one 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 the rare time when all of your hopes come to fruition.

The funny thing about important late, late goals is that equalisers feel almost as good as winners, especially when you been behind by more than one goal, especially if your opponents have played like moral-free twats by subjecting you to 90  minutes of whinging, incessant claiming,  simulating and wasting time etc, etc.

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 equalised. Last season Airbus suffered when karma caught up with them and we equalised in injury time. Last Season Jamie Reed scored two goals in injury time that meant Bangor City won 3-1. We have even scored late, late goals in Welsh Cup Finals; in the four consecutive Welsh Cup Finals I’ve seen one last-minute equaliser and one 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 to 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 probably wouldn’t have been to Caersws, Guilsfield, Carmarthen or Llanelli either.

Without football the trips would not have taken place, without these trips my life would not feel as rich. I wouldn’t have such an intimate knowledge of Britain’s public transport.  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 city and town centre are becoming homogenised with my own eyes either. 

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

5. Trips abroad

Football trips abroad are quite special events. Football trips are better versions of so-called normal holidays; you can still do the normal holiday stuff like sight-seeing but you also have  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 simply becomes a magical experience. Anyone that’s been on a football trips would agree about this.

The joy begins before you even leave home. First you have the draw. This is 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 you expectations.

The anticipation goes up a notch when the exact travel plans are formulated. At this stage there will be excited conversations about plans…….. “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 reason that you’re going on a trip but it’s almost incidental to the trip. These trips are always great because 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.

When I think about it, 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 because  you see another side to them. Even if you see people every Saturday you don’t know that much about them as you only generally 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 because you see how they act in a different environment.  In my experience this has been a positive experience as it often leads to fantastic experiences.

This is all great and we haven’t even touched the idea of memories from trips, the laughs the stories are great, they are something to share for years to come.  For example my trip to Denmark in 2008 saw the following;

I thought that I’d found I shop that sold Kalashnikovs yet an hour later it wasn’t there; the exiled Cardiff fan in Aarhus that fixed the pub quiz for us to win; Huw P singing Karaoke; the fans’ match in Herning; the 60 Bangor fans constantly sang for the entire match; I nearly missed the plane hoe because I overslept, I arrived with five minutes check in to spare.

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

6. Conversations with people

I’m not talking about having conversations about football with people. There’s nothing worse than entering into a debate with people who believe they are football fans because they shout at television screens in pubs. 

I’m talking about here the conversations that you have with the people who go to matches with you. These conversations will cover everything; food, politics, football, music, films, holiday memories. You don’t even need football as a topic. Some of the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had have taken place at football matches. Watching football is one of the most social of leisure activities and being 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 and has remained ever since. 

As I said above football is a social activity, 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 last few years. At Bangor I’ve met several hundred people because they simply wanted to come to Bangor. Some of them 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 to name are only three example.

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 Soren.

Then there’ s the internet. Thanks to twitter, new avenues of football friendship have opened up and this has led to meeting even more people. It only took a few quick tweets and I met Rob and Ian from 200 per cent in Chester’s ground. Over the last few months I’ve met Ianto and Rhodri at Carmarthen thanks to Twitter as well. Facebook is also good for this and this 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 thing about football that it can allow people to make friends.

8. Danny Baker

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

In fact, Baker actively avoids clichés by preferring to talk about the incidentals around the game. 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?” fill his shows. This approach is a darn sight better than listen to than the crap Lovejoy, Spoony and the other twats come out with. He also made the best funny football out-takes video. His recovery from Cancer was some of the best news I’ve heard this year.

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. Visual gold may lie in those clips!!!

10. Rediscovering old programmes and magazines

See this post.








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