Can I Kick It?

I am not a football fan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it lots of times, unless I am accidentally in a football based pub and in which case I will first wonder how on earth I’ve ended up there, and then secondly try and work out what I can shout or say that may make me look like an expert so I don’t get attacked. I don’t ever really want to know anything about football but there are those moments where it would be useful to have some knowledge of the Premier World Champions Cup or whatever it is. For example a few weeks ago, after Chelsea won whatever it was they won, I was walking to Tom Craine’s house, near the Emirates Stadium, and a man wearing Arsenal garb was repeatedly falling over. Now, at first, this was hilarious. He would stumble one way, hit a lamppost, fall over, slowly get up, stare at his surroundings and set off again. The next attempt would involve him walking straight into a shop front and so the cycle would continue again. It was like a not too exciting human pinball adventure. But then on fall attempt number 6 (he was zigzagging in the same direction as I was walking), he fell over and didn’t get up immediately. As his head had smacked the concrete, I went from snickering a lot to being concerned. I went over and checked if he was ok. He nodded, and then held his hand up to say ‘wait a minute’. Stupidly, I did. He then very very slowly pulled himself back up, and staggered towards me and put his hand on my shoulder. Now, at this point, I suddenly became pretty scared. He looked angry, he smelled angry and by putting one hand on my shoulder it looked like he was steadying himself to swing with the other. Instead he looked me in the eyes and just said ‘I hate Chelsea.’ I wasn’t quite sure what the safe response was here. If I said I loved Chelsea I’d be both lying, as I am hugely apathetic towards them, and probably stirring this loon’s anger pot. If I said ‘why?’ he could realise I’m not a football fan and get angry, or worse, attempt to talk to me for a while. So I said I hated them too. He grimaced in an attempt to smile, then fell over again and I walked quickly on.

When I was 8 I assumed I had to like football as I lived then, as I have since, quite near the Arsenal grounds and by default that seemed to mean all of my friends were Arsenal fans and I should be too. Thems the rules. You live there, you must like there. Except with Man Utd where its the opposite. My parents couldn’t give a toss about football and so when I decided I wanted to go to a game, my uncle, a die-hard Tottenham fan, had to take me. We went to see Arsenal vs Oxford and grudgingly my uncle sat us on the Arsenal side, trying his best not to cheer everytime Oxford did well. Luckily they didn’t do very well at all. Instead my uncle had a pie, I had a kitkat and we watched as Arsenal took Oxford in the face, football wise. It was brilliant, but sadly my uncle couldn’t hack going to Arsenal games for too long and so that was that. I managed only a few more until the effort of following everything combined with the disinterest at home, made me realise I really couldn’t be arsed. My brother gained an interest a bit later on in life and I went to a couple of games with him, including a tribute match where Ian Wright fell into the crowd. Sadly no one died. This was followed by attempts at being enthused by the World Cup and Euro games, but any attempt to be backing the national team was generally met by poor play and an early failure by England. After this normal life quickly resumed and I could quite happily not watch football with using too much effort. I mean, it doesn’t take effort not to watch it, and I think that’s the problem. Watching and following a team means you have to constantly keep up with what they are doing. Every season they might or might not do well, the season ends, then you have to start all over again. That would drive me insane. The lack of ever just finishing it all. I still hold on to the idea that all football teams worldwide should have one big game and that’s that. Whoever wins, wins forever and they can gloat about it all they like. It can be called the ‘Megahellafootballshowdowncrazy’, and everyone will watch. I have all the best ideas.

Last night though I helped with a charity gig for Mark Watson’s brother Paul who is actually doing something very interesting related to football. Paul, along with his friend Matt, travelled to a tiny island in Micronesia called Pohnpei. This particular island has a very high obesity rate and as such had never had any kind of sports or training facilities, let alone public interest, in order for them to combat this problem. Paul and Matt decided they would set up the first ever Pohnpei football team, and have since led this team to become both extremely competent players and also create excitement about getting healthy. This has spread across the island and thanks to these two, they are hopefully changing things for the next generation of Pohnpeinesians. That’s probably not what they are called, but googling is an effort when you’re downloading the last few eps of Lost. Anyway, the next step for Pohnpei is to get their team FIFA recognised which requires some lengthy process and about £9000. Last night’s much fun show raised £1000, so just 8 left to go. If you are interested in helping then please check out their website here:

POHNPEI SOCCER

Or follow them on Twitter: @pohnpeisoccer

Right, that’s my bit for charity and football liking. I can now go back to dreading the world cup as all my gigs disappear and instead I have to watch as people with England flags scribbled on their faces cry so hard, all the face paint runs in a way that looks like their head is melting. Tonight I’m doing a gig for the Epilepsy Society. You can fully expect that tomorrow there will not be a similar blog about the issues of growing up with a disinterest in such subject matter. It just wouldn’t fit. Sorry. So so sorry. Sigh.

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