If you are a football (soccer) fan, like me, this is one the most important days of the year. Today is transfer deadline day – the last day that players can change clubs in Europe until Christmas. Traditionally there’s lots of excitement around who is moving to which club, and the BBC and Sky run rolling commentary until 5pm when the window closes. The level of gossip is unbelievable, with players being rumoured as being seen at training grounds (normally multiple different grounds all atthe same time) and having medicals before being on the move.
I love football. There was a moment during the last World Cup when the commentator said, “Welcome to Match 54 of this year’s World Cup”. My husband looked at me and said, “And how many of those 54 have you watched?”. There was a dawning realisation that I had only missed 3 – we were nowhere near the final and I had already seen all or part of 51 games of football. And I wasn’t bored yet.
I have always been a football watcher, having been an armchair fan of a major Northern team for most of my life, but for the last 5 years I have been outvoted by The Rest of The Family (TM) and I am now a regular occupant of a seat in a large stadium in London. It’s amazing the amount of joy it brings to all of us when “our lot” scrape a win and “that lot” lose on a Saturday (just like it happened this weekend). There is something about heading to a match – the hope and expectation, the nodding on the train to one or two others wearing the same scarf as you, descending at the tube station where the trickle of fans has suddenly become a flood and the sensation that the excitement is palpable. And if “we” win – and ideally win big, like the 6-0 thumping we attended the other week – the buzz when you leave the ground is incredible. You are talking to total strangers about the game as you wait for the tube and everyone (bar one or two away fans) is smiling. Those fans are our tribe. I hope we will always enjoy being part of that tribe.