Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Confessions Of An Armchair Football Fan - Part One

I inhabit a strange world.

What did you do on Sunday afternoon? I bet you didn't spend what should have been a relaxing afternoon with sweaty armpits, a shaky leg and a loud, foul mouth in front of an unsuspecting television set.

Such is the life of an armchair football fan.

I say "fan" rather than "supporter". A supporter spends big money going to the matches and cheers on his or her team in the flesh. I've probably been a supporter less than 30 times in my life and then I've always been too self-conscious to swear or sing. If every supporter was like me, players would turning to their managers and, like actors, asking "what's my motivation?"

I may not be a proper supporter but I am a "fan", as in "fanatic". My waking hours are always being invaded by thoughts and worries about my team. The worry seems to have got worse as I've got older. And watching my team in important matches, like on Sunday, I am a nervous wreck.

Yesterday I was asked why I support who I do. I don't really know. It started so long ago and I was so young.

As a teenager, my dad used to go and see Charlton play, but he never really had any strong feelings about any team. He was not a fanatic. So it wasn't as if when I announced to him I was a West Ham fan he disowned me or anything. Besides, I was only 4 at the time.

It was the World Cup in '66. Bobby was the captain. Geoff and Martin scored the goals. Geoff was a "Geoff" and so was I. There was really only one team to follow.

The above is not what I remember. It may not have happened that way. But this is the only logical conclusion my grown up mind can come to. This is what I assume happened to my vulnerable infant mind.

To be continued (if you're unlucky)...


  1. You also had Harry Redknapp, remember. Bet his big tomato face clashed with the claret shirts.

  2. Alf Garnett... he was a West Ham fan wasn't he? I'm imagining Betty as the Silly Moo, now. And didn't his step-grandson go on to invade Iraq and cost the lives of about 1/4 million people?

  3. Do you leap up and shout at the telly?

  4. Tim - When he was young he was as gorgeous as Jamie. Watch out, Louise!

    Murph - Yes but we have Russell Brand now who's a lovely lad. Alf Garnett was not yer typical West 'am fan, anyway. Alfred Hitchcock was a Hammer too, you know.

    Billy - I've only started doing that recently. I'm losing my inhibitions as I creak into middle age. When we score I roar like a lion.

  5. Coming from a long line of football supporters I continued the trend. My mum told me not to trust a bloke who wasn't interested in football.

    But in those days you could watch the match for half a crown with change left over for fish and chips and a bottle of brown ale.

  6. Without football, I'd have nothing in common with most of the blokes I meet. I prefer to talk about what's been on the telly, though. But nobody watches what I watch except for Corrie.

    I used to pay £6 in the early 80s - I was first in, last out and held my bladder well. What would £6 be worth now?