Manchester Rovers | Christian Talbot
Words: Christian Talbot
The Euro 2012 Championships are coming up and surprisingly, I will be watching it. The Ireland matches at least. Why is this surprising? Well I've never really been that interested in football. When I was at school, I made a few attempts to like it. I bought football boots and a few copies of Shoot magazine. I even played for a couple of teams. I say play. I got to play twice and only because those were times when our team was leading by such a margin that putting me on could not jeopardise us winning, no matter how much I messed up. And I did mess up… all the time. I'd run around after the ball like a headless chicken with no clue about strategy or formation, even when I was supposed to be the goalie. I'd get in the way of our own players and constantly give away penalties for handball. I'd leave the pitch with the phrase "Talbot ye spa!" ringing in my ears (their un-pc term not mine). In short, I was the kid that was told to "warm up" on the sideline. In school, I was normally picked in the last five of those who were hopelessly bad (I’m going to say last 5 and not last as I do have some dignity left. Not much…but some).
Although I tried, in truth my heart was never in it. I was just never supposed to be a football fan. I never liked the laddish culture that went along with it, the aggression, the violence or latterly the casual racism that seems to mar the Premiership these days. I could never remember the names of the players or the teams. I’d call them Manchester Rovers or Liverpool United much to the embarrassment of real football fans. It never bothered me as much as others who seemed to take the whole thing very seriously. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really been a team player. I really prefer sports where it’s one person pitting themselves against others as individuals. For example I would happily watch two boxers beat seven shades of crap out of each other in the name of sport than watch a team. I never said I was consistent.
But the biggest obstacle to me getting into football was supporting a "named" team. I just can’t make an emotional and practical commitment to a team arbitrarily. I'll give you an example. My friend Steve supports Manchester United. Probably because they have loads of money and win things quite a bit (or so I'm lead to believe). A few weeks ago there was a big match thingy where Manchester United played Manchester City and they lost. Steve was most upset. So upset that he could barely talk for two days. A grown man. In a huff. For two days. About a football match over which he had no control, played by people he’s never met, for a team from a city he’s never even been to. Nobody can tell me that’s a reasonable way for an adult to behave.
Now on the other hand, I'm quite prepared to sit and watch our national team compete in the Euros. Why? Because it’s something the whole country can get behind and it isn’t as silly as picking the team with the most money who win things. You support your own country no matter what., through thick and thin (make your own jokes about the "stupid" and "skinny" players on the team here. I don’t know their names).
I’ll be there, sat in front of the TV on Sunday for the first match against…well whoever it is…I have no idea but I’m sure they’re very good too. I will be sitting with a bunch of friends, eating starchy, over-salted snacks and drinking beer (not wine…never wine for football…even I know that). I'll probably shout random things at the screen at the most inopportune times like "Offside Ref!" (I still have no idea what offside means but it makes me look authoritative) or the ever famous "Put Em Under Pressure!".
Either way I'll be having a good time and I sincerely hope Ireland get as far as they can. We'll be proud of them. God knows we need something good to get behind these days.
So get your flags out and your Ireland jerseys on. Lets hope Ireland get many many tries.
Christian is performing at the Woolshed Baa in Dublin on June 12th and at the Battle of the Axe at the Ha'penny Bridge Inn in Dublin on June 14th
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Thursday 7th June 2012 | Comedy
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