Sunday, May 20, 2012
Football Can Be So Exciting
Why am I so hostile to Football? My answer could cover the whole of cyberspace but the short answer is that: I was appalled by the Heysel Stadium happening in 1985; I hate the hegemony of cash in the game which has made cheating and boorish behaviour acceptably routine and sportsmanship a sign of assumed weakness; and the erosion of character quality in profressional football players which sees them behaving like spoilt s children and even sees a convicted criminal, Joey Barton, captaining QPR and appearing as pundit on Newsnight. That will do for now but few would question why I see cricket as a last bastion of sporting goodwill and civilised bahaviour.
So why am I devoting a post to such a barbarian activity? Well, once a sports fan, always one, is part of the answer. I've always followed it 'below the radar' in a sense and have been moved, on occasions by heroic displays whether home or abroad. And I still have my loyalties. Three events have given me great satisfaction at the close of this season.
,br /> 1. Shrewbury Town
I have followed 'The Towm' ever since I used to go and watch them (invariably disappoint) at The Gay Meadow when living in Shropshire. They survived a couple of seasons in the old Second Division but then plummeted down into the Conference a few seasons ago before arising into, trhe equivalent of the old Division Four: 'Division Two'. After two or three seasons knocking on the door of promotion, they finally made it this year. And all the club's long suffering fans are so pleased.
2. Manchester City
When first arriving to work at Manchester University, I used to live in Fallowfield, close to Maine Road, which I visted regularly. I continued my support for the club throughout its roller coaster ride of failures followed by disasters. This season, after the most remarkable consistency, admittedly 'bought', essentially, by the evil lucre that so plagues the game, they squeaked home, breaking the dominance of United in my adopted city of Manchester. City fans at my my local pub, The Nursery, kept me awake into the small hours braying their delight
Again,I've never been a real fan of the London club, only British ones in European finals, but even though its side contains few genuine Brits, I was enthralled by the match last night. The Blues were almost played off the pitch by the German side which should have converted at least three or four of the dozen plus chances it created. But doggedly, and veery heroically, Chelsea held on, substantially through the stalwart efforts of Ashley Cole, a love rat off the pitch, the tabloids delight in telling us, but a hero on it last night. It's a shame so many of these big matches go to penalities but, lets face it, they are agonisingly exciting. When Mata missed that first attempt, I was once again convinced that was it but when Cole equalised, I felt hope spring forth again and, sure enough, the Gods (must have been extra-terrestial or something) were with the Oligarch's side. The next penalty by the unlucky Germans was saved and then the astonishing Didier Drogba won a truly amazing victory for the british club. Thank you football for these three gifts at the close of the 2011-12 season.