Saturday, 17 August 2019

emergency crumpets

Scuse the dramatics, but I’ve fallen out of love with football. Well, that’s what I like to tell myself, and whoever else will listen, when I try to explain why my one year sabbatical away from the game is now into its 4th season. But to fall out of love with something would imply that there was a time when I was in love with it, and, really, I’m not sure that I was.

It had its moments, of course. Trips to Wembley and Old Trafford, B&Bs in Morecambe and a freezing cold Don Valley Stadium will never be forgotten, and nothing can dampen my enthusiasm for some pre-match pub action.  Well, I say nothing, but increasingly it turned out that the football could always ruin a good drink.

Perhaps it was down to the league club that I still consider myself as a supporter of - if not an actual attender of games at - going through some well-publicised and damaging changes that prompted me to call it a day. That’s a bit of a cop-out though, if I’m being honest. The inertia kicked in some time before the new owners rocked up and things started to go awry on and off the pitch. I was bored bored bored.

Have I missed it? Not really. I miss the pub, and I miss travelling to away games, but I haven’t missed the 90 minutes of ‘action’ itself, so I’m not sure why, hungover and on an emergency crumpets mission at the local shop, I picked up a copy of the Non-League Paper for the first time and read it front to back, soaking its pages with Lurpak-stained fingers as I read match reports for teams I’d never heard of from leagues I didn’t know existed. 

What the frick is the Isthmian Premier, I pondered.

Perhaps I’ve missed it more than I thought then, and buying that newspaper with those crumpets was my gateway back in. Whatever the reason, I’ve bought the paper ever since and have subsequently spent months Wiki-ing the heck out of non-league clubs and its divisions, principally in an attempt to work out why Gloucester City are in the National League North.

There’s a lot to go at, isn’t there, and I like the cut of Non-League’s jib. There’s history and there’s passion and, excuse me if this comes across a little patronising, there’s a ‘properness’ about it that appeals. 

As such, I’m going back in, but am eschewing Big Football in favour of the non-league stuff. 
Let this be the season where I make my glorious re-entry into the world of football, and let this website be the place where I write stuff about it.
There will be blethering. 

There will be mis-remembered match reports. 

There will be pies.