I am watching football. Again.
Last night Mr B and I watched Brighton draw with Southampton, in the company of Matt-and-Jackie-Next-Door.
No, our neighbours weren’t keeping company with Brighton or even Southampton; they were with us, enjoying (we hope) one of our regular Footie Evenings.
I am watching Tottenham Hotspur (Mr B’s team) playing Inter Milan, just the two of us - along with, to be fair, the several thousand other football fans watching BT Sport.
I cannot grumble about football. It is possible I would not exist were it not for the fact that my dear Dad, serving with the Eighth Army out in the desert during the Second World War, was away playing football for his regiment when
Tobruk fell. Everyone in his platoon was either killed or taken prisoner. Unimaginable though it might seem to think of football matches being played in the midst of war, the Beautiful Game may well have saved his life. And led to mine.
Fast forward several years and on the day I met Mr B (outside Woolworths in Sittingbourne High Street) we might have said hi and cheerio and never seen each other again, except for
the fact that we met again the same afternoon at the local football ground. You are mystified, I can tell, but you need to understand that once you had been asked to leave Pelosi’s coffee shop and ice cream parlour for sitting too long over one cup of
coffee, there was really nowhere else for we teenagers to go in Sittingbourne except to the football ground where we were allowed in free after half-time. Mr B and I met for the second time in the stands of Sittingbourne FC - and the rest was history. He must
have been impressed with my knowledge of the game. Possibly.
For these two reasons I can hardly bring myself to complain when football is on the TV. In fact,
after studying the contribution made by the pundits last night, I am contemplating becoming one myself. A pundit, don’t you know? A pundit, I am given to understand, is an expert in a particular subject or field who is called upon to share his / her
opinions with the public. Now, I am not exactly an expert on All Matters Football Related, but I am very good at sharing my opinions with the public. As in, anyone with whom I happen to be watching footie. I drive Mr B mad with my opinions. Another, perhaps
more helpful, definition of a pundit is “a person who gives opinions in an authoritative manner.” This suggests that one doesn’t need to actually be an expert, you just have to sound as if you are. Which is altogether more feasible in my
The pundits commentating on last night’s game had a great time playing with a computer screen on which they could replay significant moments, circling
key players and drawing arrows on screen to indicate direction of play. I reckon I could handle that provided someone showed me the on-off button. The team of pundits also included one fella in a hopelessly ill-fitting suit which he appeared to have teamed
with yellow sneakers. I couldn’t help thinking that he must have turned up for work in a sweat-shirt and joggers only to be told the dress code was smart casual and sent off to the nearest Oxfam shop to find a suit and shoes. I shouldn’t be so
critical; I am not sure I have anything in my wardrobe which would fit the Pundit Bill.
Next Saturday, Tottenham is playing Brighton. Mr B will be expecting
me to support Spurs; Matt-Next-Door will be expecting me to support Brighton. To keep the peace I shall just have to adopt the role of an impartial pundit - though, bearing in mind my sartorial limitations, I will stick to being an armchair one.
At least for the time being...