Engerland, Engerland, Engerlanddd!

I despise football, I despise everything about it. It is the most unreservedly theatrical display of mundanity and heavy breathing since early Victorian porn (I’m assuming).

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind football so much if, like cycling and hiking, it slinked about on the sidelines of sport, in the shadows, emerging in meek delight only when people finally pay attention for one brief moment of the year. I would like football if it had the eager but humble charm of a stage-hand/incipient actor who aspires desperately and dreamily to one day be Brad Pitts dogsbody but who, in the meantime, is more than happy to take any lines tossed his way.

Perhaps I could even go so far as to embrace football if it were like the Olympics. The Olympics are like your wise old grandparents who live at the other end of the country, you don’t see them often but you look forward to every visit with nostalgic warmth. The opening ceremony that ejaculates atomic pyrotechnics and sprays epilepsy inducing light shows are like the first glimpse of your grandparents at the front door. Its all hugs, cheek pinches and sloppy kisses of salivary elation. However everyone, probably even the athletes as well, cannot help but feel as the last few days draw on that the Olympics, much like a visit to your grandparents, is not an experience that can be readily endured on a regular basis.

But no, football is not humble or modest and does not skirt the sidelines to allow other sports to read their lines, nor is it like a wise old grandparent whose willing to sit in their chair reading ‘crockery weekly’ and waiting until you come round and visit.

Football is comparable to the sheltered and mollycoddled son of an Arab Emirate Sheik who has lost touch with his traditional Middle Eastern roots and has been plied and corrupted by Western culture with all its consumerist hedonism, bohemian Epicureanism and gluttonous debauchery. Football is this misguided and emotionally stunted embryo adorned in Versace sunglasses that has been brought up on a diet of American dollars, European gold and distant but overly accommodating parents. Football is the asshole that revs its engine and relishes the lyrical stylings of Drake as he mumbles about his money and niggers and such things of ghetto delight.

To be honest; the game itself I can tolerate – sure its a load of grown men kicking a sphere of air into a big net for invisible points and then hurtling meteorically to the ground if someone in the bleachers breathes a little bit harder than usual or a butterfly flies a bit too fast into their chiselled pecks. This is ignorable because sometimes there can be some pretty spectacular shots and passes and runs of such fluidity that they resemble a well rehearsed ballet at the Sydney Opera House and make you forget the futility of the whole operation. I don’t even mind the grossly obese bank accounts that back the game. This is simply supply and demand.

No, I can bear these things about football, overall it is the trimmings of the game that make my fingernails curl upwards and try to force their way back into their cuticles.

I cannot help but smile with pained effort and hope that Zeus appears and tosses me his lightning bolt to throw at the heads of two football conversationalists in Ancient Greco-wrath whilst bellowing castigation at the severity and sincerity of tone in which these mortals talk about a matter of zero importance. Two men who hold jobs, have mortgages, raise children, have loved, laughed and hated can stand with grimaces of perturbed agitation, their faces contorted by the Pacific fault-line sized furrows of consternation that scar their foreheads as they mull over which footballer has the best legs or where the European manager got that wonderful suit! It is ridiculous. Football is literally as important as the need to establish how many cats occupy the region of South Somerset.

Furthermore, it is not only the undeserved importance that fans bestow to conversations about the game, it is the certainty of knowledge and the confidence of opinion that they have when expressing their point of view. Suddenly all football enthusiasts seem to think they’re next in line to promotion to manager and are infinitely more experienced and infinitely more talented than the guy in the suit in the painted white box whose job it is to choreograph the walking sperms as they kick balls.

I cannot stand that every fan refers to their team as ‘we’, as if they themselves were also on the pitch kicking a ball and then afterwards went for beers with the team. The footballers do not give one eighth of a fraction of a sliver of a fuck about you or your passion for the game. He kicks a ball for ninety minutes and then whizzes home in his Bentley to have glorious, beautiful sex with his walking Botox injected boob job. And more power to him! Its the fan that I can’t stand. The guy who refers to his team as ‘we’ and thinks this European pretty boy whose just been signed has done it for anything other than the perks, the wads of delicious cash and the fame. It is simple delusion to think he cares about your team, its values, its heritage and its council estate fans.

There are other things about football that make me grind my teeth to dust: its incessant presence on TV screens all bright and shouting, the eternal loop of leagues that are exponentially more important each year, the fact that it is the first reference point of all smalltalk and leaves me empty mouthed while the football developments of the week and opinions on them are comprehensively discussed.

Maybe though, maybe I’m completely wrong and football is the side-splitting knee-slapper told at a party to which everyone is in fits of laughter but you stand, stony faced, drink in hand, fluttering a pretend ‘ha’. Maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t get football.

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