I’ve a confession to make. Once I’ve made it, you may wish to never read another word that I have to say about football – and I think you would have every right. Here we go then: I don’t like football all that much.
There. I’ve said it.
I was going to take advantage of the fact that it was bound to be a quiet day at work today to sit down and contribute something useful to CUAS for the first time in months (well done to Lord B for keeping her going more or less single-handedly). I thought that perhaps I would write a piece highlighting my favourite Wolves XI from my time as a supporter. I could do a little pen-profile of each player, perhaps with a little photo (assuming that you can find a little photo of people like Andy Thompson or Robbie Dennison on google).
I started to think about it, and quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do it. I think I managed about 5 players (Mike Stowell, Thompson, John de Wolf, Robbie Keane and Steve Bull). Obviously I can name more players than that, but it just didn’t seem right putting Kevin Muscat into the side simply because I couldn’t think of another full-back. No. I’m just not enough of a fan to be able to do it. In fact, I’m not much of a fan at all.
I was born in Northampton, who have a football league team all of their own, so why do I support Wolverhampton Wanderers? I’ve been to the old Northampton county ground more times than I have been to Molineux. Actually, I’ve also been to Sixfields and the City Ground in Nottingham more times than I have been to Molineux. I’ve seen Wolves playing at Old Trafford as often as I have seen them playing at home. Hell. I’ve watched Venezia playing in Venice more times than I have watched Wolves playing in Wolverhampton, and I’ve been to the Bernabeu as often. Yes. I have seen Wolves playing at Molineux once in my whole life. Against Norwich. It was 2-2 (with two late Wolves goals as everyone was leaving).
I started supporting Wolves in 1987 when they were in the old 4th Division. Why? I decided I needed to support a team. Northampton would have been the logical choice, but as I had been living away from home at boarding school since the age of 7, I didn’t feel much of a bond with my home town, covered my eyes and blindly picked a side from the league tables. Although the team was edge of bankruptcy, these were golden days for Wolves. Steve Bull and Andy Mutch were rampaging their way through the division, seemingly scoring at will, and the great old club was at the start of a run of promotions that would see them stuck frustratingly one tier below the top flight, where they remain today. They were hardly a glamour pick, but I picked them and I’ve stuck with them since.
I don’t go to many games. I like watching football from time to time, and I try to take in a game whenever I’m abroad, but it’s not a regular thing. I’ve been to maybe 20 live games in my whole life. I’ve watched Wolves playing Nottingham Forest four or five times over the last ten years, and I’ve watched both Forest and Notts County (my local sides now) playing other teams, but live football is always expensive and is usually disappointing. I have Sky Sports, but I only occasionally put the Premiership on, and when I do, it’s usually as background to reading the paper. As a spectator sport, I find football comes a poor third to Rugby Union and to Cricket. Who have Wolves got today? No idea. On New Year’s Eve? Pass. Any idea of the league position? Not really. Top Scorer? Erm. The Romanian guy?
Pathetic isn’t it?
So I’m afraid to say that I’m something of a bluffer: I know something about the game, stuff that I have gleaned from my obsession with reading sports pages in newspapers and on websites, but I have no passion for the game.
So there you go. Thought you should probably know.
Is it possible to be dispassionately interested and opinionated in football? To religiously watch Match of the Day but not really give a damn who wins the league (whilst oddly also being able to state a preference for the result of each game)? To be really looking forward to the World Cup and to hope that England to win, but to also be really interested to find out how the African qualifiers get on, and to hope that the side who plays the best football wins, even if that won’t necessarily be England?
Is it normal to be so bloodless about football? Isn't it a game about passion and loyalties?
You tell me. I just feel like a fake.