Whether you’re a Gooner, a Geordie, or a Kop, the most obsessed of us lot all have one thing in common — at one point or another, we’ve all been hurt and betrayed by our beloved football club before.
It’s the kind of unparalleled hurt that you’ll only wish upon the worst of your enemies and child rapists. It’s the kind of betrayal that eats you up inside but there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Sort of like getting laid off from work only to find out that your best mate’s your direct replacement.
YOU DON’T KNOW THE HALF OF IT
Try explaining it to those who have no allegiances to the world of football and you’ll be throwing your hands up in exasperation with the conclusion that “these idiots are never gonna get it!”
I tried explaining it to my mum once and she looked at me as if she just found out that her born-and-bred in Singapore daughter, is really an alien. She said, “Wait, you want me not to buy the papers, turn off the TV for the whole day, and switch off the radio whenever the news is on, all because a football team halfway across the world lost one match?” The truth is there’s just no way of explaining something as irrational as being utterly devoted to a team – so devoted that its failures might as well have been your very own.
My mum has ‘wisened’ up though. These days when she sees me moping around and keeping my distance away from any form of Internet connection and sports news, she goes “Aahh…I see. Arsenal lost ain’t it?” and punctuates her vicious sentence with an annoying, knowing grin guaranteed to turn any moderate fan into football hooligans.
FOOTBALL F**KING HURTS!
Football hurts. And sometimes, it can hurt like f**k. Isn’t it awful how we keep coming back for more even though we’ve been inflicted with a pain like we’ve never known before, time and time again? You keep watching matches even though just last week, you threw your remote at the TV and swore that you heart will never have to endure the torment again. You keep wearing the team jersey even though you fear you might need to be on life-support if you have to sit through another one of those effing derbies where your team concedes late goals and end their title hopes. Like sadomasochists, we just keep going at it no matter how gutted they make us feel!
Sure there are moments of pure ecstasy when your football club starts a winning streak but you know damn well that at some wicked bend down the road, they will obliterate your feelings without any respect for you at all. And then you’d just have to deal with the pain any way you know you can. Some bash the heads of their rival-fans in, some wallow over a pint and others, watch High School Musical 1, 2 and 3 on re-run. My ritual includes curling up in a ball like a sorry little sod, in the hope that if I don’t hear anything about the losses or the costly draws, I can pretend that they never happened. They say misery loves company so please share all those dealing-with-football-losses rituals with me!
GUTTED GOONER (ARSENAL 4: SPURS 4; 29th OCT 2008)
Yesterday, Spurs came up from a 2-goal deficit to draw level with us. It is hands down one of the most painful and sickening derby memories ever for me…impounded by that jiggly dance at the end of the match courtesy of Arsenal’s Public Enemy Number 1, David Bentley. It’s the kind of scene that makes you want to yell “F**K FOOTBALL!” And vow never to watch another Arsenal match ever again. If you’ve got a similar memory that made you feel this sick to your stomach and scarred you for life, feel free to rant here.
Despite the terrible blow, today this gutted Gooner woke up and realized that she can never give up on her lover of ten years. The fact of the matter is, supporting a football team is a lifelong commitment with no get-out clauses. If just like me, you sometimes find yourself wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into, just remind yourself that it’s the kind of stuff that ’till death do us part’ is made of.
Written by Aishah Hamza, who also writes at the Fever Pitch.
This article is a submission for the Soccerlens 2008 Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here. The competition is sponsored by Subside Sports (premier online store for football shirts) and Icons (official signed football jerseys).