For almost 23 years I had miraculous escaped it, friends had been doing it almost all of their lives but I just never saw the point. Watching football, what’s the allure, really?
Other than Becks (guilty confession: and Ronaldo) I’ve never understood why people like football, let alone choose to watch it live pitch-side. All this said however, this week I went on t’turf – or to Turf Moor, for any you guys that aren’t from Burnley. Which is a lot of you if my stats are to be believed – Hello Americans!
Well, to be exact I didn’t go to watch home team Burnley FC I went to watch my niece perform a cheerleading routine at half time. Watching the match was just a side-effect of hitching a lift with my sister and brother-in-law.
On the approach to the stadium, I admit I was a bit worried; I’d seen how thin the turnstiles looked on TV. I’m still carrying a bit extra than I should, so I refused a pre-match burger and prayed I’d fit through.
Turns out the turnstiles (geddit?!) weren’t that bad, claustrophobic yep, but people a lot bigger than my size ten was breezing through with ease. So we settled into the plastic chairs of the family stand and prepared to freeze.
Ten minutes later, we (excluding the brother-in-law) realised that the match had actually started a bit back. It wasn’t a really thorough warm up; they were running up and down because nobody had scored.
While the game itself had its moments, it was a bit underwhelming. I spent a good portion of the match staring wistfully at the away stand. Despite travelling hours to get here the Aston Villa fans looked like much more fun. Nobody had scored, but they were singing, stamping and all of the things your lead to believe happen at a football match. My fellow Burnley supporters talked mostly amongst themselves and chowed down on sweets.
I felt a bit robbed. To be fair, there were moments of collective ‘oohhs’ and hands-on-foreheads when Burnley nearly scored but nothing like I’d imagined. Towards the end, it did get me out of my seat when Danny Ing scored a goal, but that moment of enthusiasm was short lived, as most people did a quick jig then returned to their conversations.
As we left, my brother-in-law noted that it was the quietest home game he’d ever been to, so maybe football matches are more fun in general. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to find out any time soon, give me Wimbledon over the Premiership any day.