Growing up, football was not a part of my life. My parents actively disliked it, my brother was a rugby fan, and I was more interested in arts, so football was never something that happened in my world. Because of this, my only real knowledge on football and the fans of it was the boys crashing around in the playground grunting, swearing and generally competing over the size of their manhoods, and of the football hooligans on television news being racist, sexist dickheads.
Then I got involved in a relationship with a football fan. Not just a general fan, but a real lover of football. He watches it, he plays it, he goes to his team games and he follows what happens in other teams games. When Liverpool FC play, the television is sacrosanct and no amount of whinging from the children will get it changed to Peter Rabbit, and no amount of puppy dog eyes from me will get it changed to Strictly.
Do you know what I’ve learned? Footballs alright! I now wear my red football shirt with pride and cheer when goals are scored.
Football isn’t hooligans beating each other up for not supporting the right team. Football is The Boy and his mates, all supporting different teams, all sitting on my sofa having a beer and a laugh. It is gentle teasing and genuine support. It is laughter and friendship.
Football isn’t men grunting and swearing and being abusive, it’s two toddlers proudly waving Liverpool FC scarves over their heads and shouting “YAY GOAL!” when the wrong team score then looking up at their daddy proudly waiting to be appreciated, as he laughs and says “Yes, the other team scored! Well done!”
Football isn’t drunks getting wasted in the pub. It’s The Boy sitting with a cup of tea after a long day at work, enjoying something which gives him pleasure whilst I paint my toenails and chatter about Miss Rose’s ability to poop four times in one day.
Football is people from around the world coming together to watch a bunch of people kicking a ball around. It’s kids from different houses coming outside to kick a ball around. It’s toddlers chasing their daddy around the garden trying to impress him by kicking a ball around.
It’s not thugs, drunks, racists and sexists. It’s families and friends. It’s just normal people who get pleasure from something that brings people together.
Don’t get me wrong, there are complete idiots in all walks of life. But it’s not a requirement to like football and, more importantly, it’s the minority. For some reason the press will have you believe that football fans are all violent lunatics, but football fans are The Boy and his dad getting together and sharing a rare chance to just relax and enjoy something together.
The only downside, that I can see, is that women are discouraged from playing and don’t get the recognition they deserve. Sort that out and I’m fully bought in and shall never again judge football. Racists, sexist idiots I shall judge and judge loudly. But football fans? Never.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!