Sunday, 27 September 2009

Football, it's not a funny old game.

Right now football is not "a funny old game"; it's the fist in my face, the knife in my guts and the steel toe cap boot in my genital area.

My football club is Ipswich Town. I live in Devon.

It's not surprising that I rarely get to see Ipswich play. Maybe it means I am not die-hard in my support for the Tractor Boys, but travelling 800 miles every other weekend is not something I can afford to do – financially or mentally.

Yesterday, September the 26th 2009, I readied myself with a Gin and Tonic (the drink of men), a large, on-offer, bar of Mint Aero and donned my Ipswich shirt from the bag of clothes I am currently living out of; Ipswich were playing live on the BBC. Live on the BBC!

Before half time I had turned over and got hooked on a piece of useless and pointless television called “Beach Patrol”. On this rare and should-have-been-beautiful occasion I decided to watch a man being resuscitated as another man was rescued at sea, while another man was removed from a Californian beach for being drunk, instead of watching my team put in the most embarrassing and disheartening performance I’d seen since the whole of Portman Road chanted Carlton Palmer’s name as he completed his hat-trick against us for Sheffield Wednesday in the early 90s. Horrible.

What made this particular performance and result (we lost 4 - 0) even worse was the occasion. At half-time (when we were already 3-0 down) our famous (locally) North Stand was re-named the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, after the legend that caused and created so much joy at the club in the 70s and early 80s.
It was the perfect situation for a classic game of football to speak volumes in celebrating a brilliant man, and the influence he had on the ‘wonderful’ game. It was the perfect moment for The Tractor Boys to turn this poor start to the season around. One of the two clubs stepped up to the challenge…it wasn’t us.

My evening was ruined. I was embarrassed.

I don’t feel guilty or bad about turning over. I feel a little silly for getting absorbed in some rubbish programme about lifeguard that wasn’t Baywatch, but I don’t feel bad about turning over. It was painful. And I hurt. This is the pain of football. This is the pain of being an Ipswich Town supporter in the 2009/2010 season.

Roy Keane is quickly losing the last remaining dribble of support as the manager to turn our club’s fortunes around; Norwich fans are drooling at the prospect of being able to bat our relegation related abuse back at us come the end of the season; and my girlfriend has still not forgiven me for spending a whole evening not talking to her because “it’s only a game.” Which is true…but so is Boxing, and if you’re not very good, it hurts.

No comments: