I once heard someone say “Wives come and go, a football club is for life”. The reason I’ve remembered this quote was because supporting a football club is a bit like a marriage, albeit more long term. Most real supporters follow their club from childhood or adolescence till they find themselves in a nursing home. Thats a good 60 years at least on average.
So a relationship with the club you support will probably outlast your marriage(s). But as for the question of monogamy , there is more room to spread the love around. Certain teams other than Liverpool will always hold a place in my heart. The Arsenal ‘Invincibles’. The 1998 Netherlands World Cup side. The Juventus team that demolished the Real Madrid Galacticos in the 2003 Champions League Semi-Final.
And for the last 4 years Barcelona has been a team I find impossible not to love. First because of Ronaldinho and Eto’o. Then because of the incredibly stylish way they set out to destroy their victims. But now, the number one reason I keep an eye on their results is Lionel Messi.
Every avid fan of any sport will have periods when their patience is tested. Now is one of those times for me. Despite the awkwardly early hours football games are broadcast in North America because of the time difference, it’s a very rare event for me to doze off while watching Liverpool, no matter how sleep deprived I am. But thanks to the stodgy way they’ve been playing this season, I have nodded off a couple of times. Which is where Barcelona come in. I may have a plain Jane at home, but any Sunday afternoon I am free to nip out and peek at some daring (almost scandalous) dribbling and passing.
If Barcelona are my figurative mistress, then El Classico would be our anniversary so to speak. The big rivalry games remind you what it is you love about certain teams, and Barca’s 5-0 thrashing of Madrid certainly did that. Yesterday’s game was exhibition football. Barca moved the ball around beautifully, using the whole width of the pitch. And Lionel Messi had another one of those games that old folks will tell the youngins about in 40 years time. At will Messi was able to create scoring chances against (probably) the second best team in the world. I have seen many great players in my time but all of them look like chumps compared to him. In my opinion he is the best player in history and will have to write an ode dedicated to him sometime.
In the meantime, here is a toast Lionel Messi for keeping my love of football going strong.