10 rea­sons why we keep go­ing back

DAVID HENNINGHAM ex­plains why, de­spite the cost, it’s im­pos­si­ble to kick the foot­ball habit...

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - OPINION - LT

HOW much????? I’m not pay­ing that! That’s the last time I buy a sea­son ticket! They get paid too much!’ How many times have we heard this over the years? As ticket prices and the cost of go­ing to watch your team con­tin­ues to do dam­age to your wal­let, we still con­tinue to cough up and head off to watch our team do­ing bat­tle.

Why do we con­tinue to do it? Granted, there are sup­port­ers true to their word, stick to their guns, and never re­turn to the seats of the var­i­ous sta­di­ums they once loved vis­it­ing, but many keep on go­ing. Here are 10 rea­sons why we like to head back for more:

1. The Drama

We may not ad­mit it but deep down we are ‘Drama Kings and Queens’. We love the drama that un­folds be­tween the teams on the turf. Drama is Aguero strik­ing in stop­page time, Terry hit­ting the wood­work with that penalty, Liver­pool play­ers ris­ing from the dead in the 2005 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal and Beck­ham’s late strike against Greece in 2001. It may feel like we are hav­ing a car­diac ar­rest as we watch… hop­ing, pray­ing, curs­ing… but we love it and we want more!

2. The Con­tro­versy

Where would our beau­ti­ful game be with­out the big ‘C’ word? It makes steam jet out of our ears and makes the most mild-man­nered turn into the green-eyed mon­ster. The big ‘C’ does won­ders to somebody’s character… you may think you know some­one well, but they will seem like a stranger when it comes to con­tro­versy. So whilst we now have goal-line tech­nol­ogy to re­duce the big ‘C’, we still have the divers, of­fi­cials who have mo­ments of blind­ness, and de­fend­ers giv­ing bear hugs to the op­po­si­tion dur­ing a set-piece. Long live the big ‘C’!

3. We love a good moan

Many of us are like some peo­ple in those soaps on TV.We like to have a good moan about the slack per­for­mances of in­di­vid­u­als on our team, the man­ager or the of­fi­cials.We can have a moan be­fore, dur­ing and after the game, it’s not time spe­cific. Even when our teams are do­ing well, and I mean re­ally well, we search hard and find some­thing to moan about.We may not ad­mit it, but we love it!

4. The At­mos­phere

Sit down, stand up, lis­ten to the chant­ing, lis­ten to the roars, lis­ten to the dis­ap­point­ment of si­lence, sense that your team will make a break­through, look at the shak­ing of heads when another chance goes down the drain, curse the of­fi­cials when they get it wrong, hold your breath as the ref reaches for a card…… will it be yel­low or the dreaded red? They all add to the at­mos­phere and we have no idea when it will change.

5. We are imag­i­nary foot­ball man­agers

‘Shoooooot! Hit it! Cross it! What’s he do­ing there? Tackle him! Grab him! My Gran would have saved that! Why has he played that for­ma­tion? How much did we pay for that don­key?’

It’s funny how a sim­ple guy like my­self turns into a pro­fes­sional man­ager once the ref blows his whis­tle. The in­ter­est­ing thing is that the

thou­sands of sup­port­ers present also turn into man­agers… and rightly so! I mean, what do those real man­agers know? We know good foot­ball and we have all the know-how to get our beloved team to the sum­mit and keep them there.

6. It's in our blood

‘I re­mem­ber the first match my Grandad David took me to. It was amaz­ing! Even though it was freez­ing and the ball looked like it was made of wood, I will never for­get it. I knew from that day I would al­ways support Bramp­ton FC’.

How many times have we heard this? We go to a match wear­ing sized 3 shoes, our blood gets con­tam­i­nated, then we head to matches for the rest of lives.We are hooked! We are ad­dicts! The fact is it’s in our blood and we are trapped. No mat­ter how loud we scream, beg or cry, we are hooked for life. Ac­cept the fact that we are ad­dicts… don’t fight it!

7. Ten­sion re­lease

My thoughts drift back to a time about three years ago. Our ad­min as­sis­tant got a ticket to come to a foot­ball match with us on a Wed­nes­day evening. Now I have to ex­plain that this lady is calm, happy, al­ways will­ing to help and pro­fes­sional. When she got hold of her ticket, her words were along the lines of ‘I can’t wait for this match, I re­ally need a good shout to calm my­self down’.

I dis­missed her com­ment and thought she was be­ing a tad over the top. Well, dur­ing the match, to my amaze­ment, she did not stop! The ref, the man­ager and all the play­ers re­ceived the wrath of her tongue. After the match she was hardly able to speak but I heard her mut­ter in a croaky tone ‘I needed that!’

8. We are crea­tures of habit

We like rou­tine. If our rou­tine changes, it throws us. Think about when we go into the su­per­mar­ket look­ing for our usual In­dian take­away. We walk in on au­topi­lot un­til we reach the spot where we’ve been col­lect­ing our spicy meal for the last 18 months.

We look down, but in­stead of see­ing what we came in for, we see a se­lec­tion of piz­zas! We stand there for a sec and ask our­selves what’s go­ing on. It throws us into a state of shock and panic be­fore we re­gain com­po­sure and no­tice the huge sign hang­ing up say­ing ‘Ready meals’ fur­ther down the aisle.

9. We can't live with­out it

We say we can, and we like to think we can, but we can’t. Just look at the ex­pres­sion on our faces dur­ing the end of sea­son break. The sud­den urge to burst into tears, sud­den twitch­ing and fits of rage aimed at any­one are some of the symp­toms of the break. Maybe it trig­gers off a hor­mone im­bal­ance.

10. We love the game

It makes us happy, it makes us smile, it makes us put all our prob­lems to the bot­tom of the pile. It makes us angry, it makes us cry, but we will still keep go­ing un­til we die. The bot­tom line is that we are in love with the beau­ti­ful game.We are bonded in mar­riage for the rest of our lives. No mat­ter what hap­pened on the pitch the other day, we will be reach­ing inside our wallets again!

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