How I fell in love with football
It’s funny really because I started out as a Manchester United fan before I was even a football fan.
When I was small and impressionable I would watch television, and some of the times I was in front of the television my dad would be watching football. He would talk a lot about football with his friends, our relatives and all that, he played football when he was younger too. I however played rugby, I mean of course at break time or lunch time there’s always that mate who had a ball handy, take some unlucky kid’s shoes, mark the goals and have at it. But the school I went to in primary didn’t have football as a school sport so we went for rugby, hockey, swimming and all. But I would always hear my dad talk and see him glued to the television for ninety minutes, ninety-five if you count Fergie time. And always when he spoke, when he watched one name would always come up, Manchester United.
So I wobbled over to this little desktop in my room, went on the internet and searched Manchester United. First thing I noticed was a lot of red, second thing was a lot of trophies, third thing was a lot of fans, I was hooked. Before I watched the highlights I read on the title winning years (which was virtually all of them), the nickname The Red Devils which I found cool, and players like Park Ji Sung, Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs, Beckham, Ferdinand the whole lot of it was amazing. Then I went on youtube and watched highlights of that brilliant final with Bayern Munich in 99, derbies and rivalries (my favourite was Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira at each others throats all the time) I simply fell in love with the team.
So as part of a lot of boy’s and girl’s coming of age I also finally chose to delve into the world of football and pick a side. My decision was instant and obvious, I was a Red Devil. Because of it I’ve endured numerous lunchtime and study time arguments with Arsenal and Chelsea fans (Arsenal and Chelsea fans really are the most pompous and self-rightous of them all), I’ve had to sneak quietly out of a room after a four nil thrashing from Chelsea back in 16. However, I’ve also gotten to laugh at Chelsea fans after we thrashed them 4 nil in 2019, I also get to look back at that glorious game in 99 and desperately wish I had been there.
[One friend back in high-school wanted to leave United and support Liverpool, so what happened is he made a letter of resignation as a United fan as well as an application letter to be a Liverpool fan. He gave the application to another friend who was a Liverpool fan, was accepted and initiated as a Liverpool fan, the transfer was complete (keep in mind this transfer was done more smoothly than what Ed Woodward and Ole managed in the 2020/21 transfer market). As I watched all this unfold two other United fans watched this with disgust while behind them a group of girls looked on with an expression that asked when these boys would finally mature, then they turned round to gossip, high-school what can you do.]
Maybe its because I’ve only really liked playing team sports growing up, but I think football is quite brilliant. It’s an international language, everywhere in the world you can walk around in an Arsenal shirt and be laughed at, you can walk into any random bar, say Ronaldo is better than Messi and instantly start a brawl, it’s beautiful. It’s also full of all sorts of romanticism; the skills, teamwork, jaw dropping finishes and heart wrenching injuries, being so close to winning only to lose on the very last day by a point or goal difference. The title wins that seemed written in the stars, the Leicester City win that seemed like something from a movie, the losses, joy, sadness, elation, pride, grief, you feel all of it whether or not you’re on the pitch or in the stands.
And as a United fan you feel quite a lot of it, all the time.
Oh a side note
My favourite player out of all to ever wear the United jersey would have to be David Beckham. From him and the class of 92, the way he played, what he meant to the club, his personality all of it was just brilliant, and arguably right there on the top spot along with Cantona and Ronaldo on the best Red to wear the 7.
Comment down below who your favourite player is, irrespective of what club you support (except Spur’s fans, you lot can go bury your heads in the sand somewhere).
Now if this has article has somewhat swayed you into becoming a football fan and you’re in need of a football club to support, I recommend Manchester United, you’ll thank me later.