Hell is other people: How to enjoy the beautiful game while avoiding existential crisis
Ten guys you should not go to the football with . . .
B EEN watching a lot of telly lately. This is mainly because I have a smart TV in my bedroom. It is certainly smarter than me and I have so far been unable to switch it off. It is the only explanation for me watching such programmes as My Face is Made of Cheese and I Am Danish. And My Wife The Cheetah. It may be cheater, but it is on at 4am so who really cares?
There is also a strange programme called I Fell for a Psychopath. The Milngavie version is now in production, named I Fell on a Cycle Path. The television has been a calming influence because I recently went to the football with a mate and I realised that going to a game should be a solitary pursuit given that the foibles of your pals can make a trip to the stand a trying event.
Here are the 10 guys you should not go to the football with… 10. Do not go with the guy….who decides on a visit to an away ground to use his new satnav. Never mind that one has been to Stenhousemuir more than one has been to the brink of despair. He insists the satnav will show a quicker route. This is why one does not reach Ochilview but sits at 3pm in Ochil View, a small street in Denny. 9. Do not go with… the guy who wants to leave early to avoid the traffic. The match must be watched in its entirety. In Scottish football, it is called doing your time. And if he wants to avoid traffic, tell him not to come to the game at all.
He careers around to locate that space that has been left vacant for a variety of reasons. These include it barely being in the same city as the game
8. Do not go with the guy…who basically does not want to support the team. This guy shouts abuse at the players as if they have slapped his mother and dishonoured his sister. His frantic outbursts are accompanied by such outpourings of spittle that once, I swear, there was a half-time inspection of a waterlogged pitch. 7. Do not go to the match with the guy... who has one line and it is not coke. This is the punter who once came up with a remark that caused someone to smirk. He has thus been encouraged to repeat said line every five minutes at every match. This guy says: “He has a touch like an elephant.” He then waits for applause despite the fact that a) this is the 4012th time he has said it this season and b) we have all plugged our ears with sodden bits of programme. 6. Do not go with the guy…who wants to go to the pub beforehand and insists on choosing The Salmonella Leap because “you can get served quickly in there”. He is immune to protests that one can “get served quickly in there” because no-one in his/her right mind would venture into a pub so dirty that I always wear my Breaking Bad cooking outfit and sip my sparkling/choleric water with my breathing mask on. 5. Do not go with the guy…who always has to go somewhere at half-time, even if someone else is fetching the pies, even if he has gone to the toilet two minutes before half-time. It is as if there is some secret entertainment behind the main stand, a sort of Frank Sinatra sings The Scottish Football Songbook that he must attend. And now. 4. Do not go with the guy who… always has to wear the same stuff. This, at first, is gently amusing. It is a tribute to the epidemic that is football fan superstition. This faith insists that if one does not wear a scarf so filthy that it spends its week in an isolation ward then one’s team will not win. Strangely, one’s team can find a myriad of ways to lose, whether scarf is present or not. Its only tangible purpose is to attract so many flies that the atmosphere at the fitba’ is, indeed, buzzing. 3. Do not go with the guy…who has his own special parking space at a variety of grounds. He, of course, shuns the spots near the ground where one has to pay a fiver. Instead, he careers around side streets to locate that space that has been left vacant for a variety of reasons. These include it barely being in the same city as the game, being in front of what appears to be a fully functioning crack house and being surrounded by so much broken glass that one would think it was an installation nominated for the Turner Prize. 2. Do not go with the guy who… has a pal who comes along occasionally. The reason this guy is not a regular attender has something to do with the rigorous demands of his probation officer. He normally picks a fight with another supporter. Inevitably, it is you. 1. Do not go with the guy... who always says after a goal is conceded: “I told you that would happen.” Yes, but he has also run through so many possibilities that the only time he did not say “I told you that would happen” was when a Minotaur ran on to the pitch and burst the ball with his horn. This happened in Alloa. Twice.
BEWARE: I wear my Breaking Bad cooking outfit and sip my sparkling/ choleric water with a breathing mask on