Apparently the football season has started (again?). Crucial matches are to be played.
I could not tell you who is playing, nor could I tell you who managed to buy whom before the transfer window closed. I could not tell you who has a new stadium or who was injured over the summer. Nor who was looking good in pre-season training. I would be hard pressed to tell you who finished where at the end of last season (other than that Leicester won it, which was apparently historic and probably caused Brexit), who has been relegated – or who is in for a tough season. Quite honestly, I would be hard pressed to identify a team by their football strip.
HURRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! (The reader should note that I paused typing to jump around the living room, doing a happy dance. It may even have been a naked happy dance!).
When I was booking the registry office, for the day of my wedding I asked my husband to be what time he would prefer. He seemed quite adamant about the time he chose. I was pleased he was so interested in our happy day.
The day of our nuptials arrived, and when we got to our reception he asked if I would like to go upstairs for a ‘glass of champagne’. We arrived in the room. He looked around furtively. This all boded well. I prepared to lock the door and proffered the Veuve Cliquot bottle for opening. He turned, looked at me with excitement in his eyes… and went for the television. Arsenal vs Chelsea, Quarter Final, FA Cup. I went back downstairs to join our guests while several of his friends piled in, to check the score.
We boarded the plane to our honeymoon. Ten days for the Fallas festival in Valencia. As I boarded the plane, I was slightly perturbed by the number of Arsenal shirts. He said that Arsenal would be playing Valencia, in the Champions League (also a quarter final, as I recall), and seemed surprised I was not as happy about this little ‘coincidence’ as he was.
Learning my expected date of delivery for our beautiful daughter was met with much frantic scrabbling through fixture lists. He attempted a discussion about what would happen if I went into labour during Watford vs Arsenal. Good wife that I was, I said I would ask our daughter to stay put during said match, but if all else failed, he would fucking switch the television off and deal with the pain. I was sure they could give him some pethadine to soften the blow.
When watching football matches, I am always struck with the immediate thought that I have in fact, already seen this match. Same green pitch. Same amount of blokes running round the pitch. It always follows the same format – they run around. At some point one of the guys will kick a ball into the little arches at the end of the pitch. This will happen on average between one and four times. It will go on for the same amount of time. And the score will be one of very few variables – with occasions where the score falls outside those parameters being discussed for ages on various commentary programmes for years ever after. If a film was so predictable, no-one would care.
The advent of digital television means that there will always be a channel, with some variation of this game, discussion of this game, analysis of this game, news from this game. I cannot fathom how such a predictable event could warrant so much discussion and money. On radio, Radio 5Live will use this game as a reason to vent the most racist, misogynistic, ill informed views possible, under the guise of this futile macho bonding exercise.
From August to June of every year, the television in my house appeared to develop a fault whereby every time you appeared to have paused viewing something, perhaps this pause was indicated by you blinking, the television would return to its default setting of SkySportsNews. Incomprehensible tables would occupy the screen while some junior anchor tried to fill the airtime with pointless dull comment on the progress of the season.
So here I am doing my naked happy dance. Marital breakdown has MANY benefits.