Football and other Saturday thoughts

I live with a football fan. So partly for the sake of my sanity, and partly because after a while it just becomes interesting and entertaining, I am now also a football fan.

So Saturdays in the football season are spent watching Soccer am on Sky Sports 2, followed by the lovely Jeff StellingImage

and panel

Image

on Soccer Saturday, with occasional forays into live games and sometimes a wee post game analysis with Tam Cowan on Off the Ball.

The Gster will tell you I love team efforts generally, so the underdog winning through, or a team congratulating their goal scorer (or goal keeper), or standing by their manager (yes Blackburn, i mean you), warms my heart.

Of course sometimes the team you want to win loses, sometimes badly… but they pick themselves up, go back to training and return for the next match.

And sometimes tragedy strikes. Last Saturday I was on my way to #twinner (more anon) and checking on football happenings on twitter when my feed was flooded with the awful news that Fabrice Muamba had keeled over, away from the ball, and was being given CPR on the pitch at Spurs.

The news just got worse, but the medics had been amazing, Owen Coyle was a hero, and the referee quickly made the decision that the match could not continue past that 41st minute.

And here we are a week later… Muamba is miraculously fighting back after 78 minutes without a heartbeat, and Bolton are playing Blackburn in a bottom of the table battle that will be played with more heart than any before. Image

So why does this matter? Well, I hate that football has become about money as much as anything as I’m sure most fans do. But then when you realise someone’s career might be cut short at 23 when they are about to get married and have a young child, that makes *some* of the paycheques more palatable. But more importantly, the reaction to this tragedy has, I think, shown what football does best. It unites disparate communities, it encourages us to expend hope and energy on others, just because they need our positive vibes, not because we know them, and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for the human race.*

PS. As I write we are just over 30 minutes in and Bolton are 2-0 up…

*Of course, Chris Kamara turning out for Welshpool was also massively inspiring. If only they’d actually won!

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