Dougie Brimson. Author, screenwriter, serial moaner.
As someone who frequently finds themselves in conversation with people from every end of pretty much every spectrum on which human life sits, I often find myself responding to questions of some kind or another.
Inevitably, the bulk of these will revolve around subjects linked to my work or be of the ‘how can I?’ variety which is fine. Occasionally however, you’ll get a curveball question and the range of issues these can cover is, to say the least, broad. Only recently I found myself explaining to someone from the other side of the world why we drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.
To be honest, I like this kind of random stuff. Not only does it tax the brain (or google) but I find it quite rewarding to think that people feel comfortable asking me these things. Especially when in some cases, I’ll have been the first Englishman they’ll ever have mailed.
My favourite question however, is one which lands in my inbox on a regular basis. It is quite simply, why football?
Usually of course, this will be used in the context of violence or hatred but increasingly, it’s being asked by people who don’t follow the game and want to know why those of us who do are so fanatical about it.
My explanation to this is a simple one and it’s that there is no such thing as a standard answer because there is no such thing as a standard football fan. We might come across as sheep (or even mugs) to the uninitiated but when you look a little deeper, you’ll quickly find that there are all kinds of reasons to explain why we are all unique in our love of the great game. There are even different degrees of obsession but if you want to know more about that, then you best read this.
Amongst those of us who actually get off our arses to attend games in the flesh, there is however, one common thread and that is that it’s not just about 90 minutes of football. And I mean football, not even great football. For it’s fair to say that some of the best days I’ve had as a fan have been on days when Watford have lost and I’d bet that most fans reading this will think the same.
For the simple reality is that watching football is about one thing, hope. Hope that things will get better, or not get worse. Hope that you will win promotion, not get relegated, beat your local rivals or even just carry on for one more season. And with that hope comes every kind of emotional event possible all wrapped up in one simple word, passion.
To be a part of that passion, to be able to share those experiences with others and belong to something that will come to dominate your weekends, if not your life, that’s why we do it and why we love it. Because we belong.
Don’t ask me why we do it, tell me why you don’t.
Speaking of football and fans, my old book Rebellion is now available as an ebook.
First published in 2006, it tells the background to some of the more infamous fan protests including those at Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.
And on much the same subject, my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow, may well be heading for TV.
Watch this space!
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