Hopefully it’ll be a classic England vs Germany encounter this evening. The less mentioned friendly being of course Gibraltar vs Slovakia. Gibraltar have just recently been admitted to UEFA and this will be their first game as such (hosted in nearby Portugal). Exciting times for the rock nevermind the Spaniards rather pathetic protesting to the facts and clumsy attempt to play politics with the game.
As far as football goes like almost every young boy I loved both playing and watching it from an early age. I picked Liverpool as my team (the local Forest Green Rovers not appealing as much to a shallow 8 year old) though this random loyalty (probably influenced by an older family friend at the time who was a L’pool fan I was trying to emulate) didn’t last much til about 15, 16 when my ever growing love of music entirely eclipsed that of league football and I lost touch other than a brief flirtation with Bolton Wanderers (2006) because I was fascinated by their team at the time even going up to the Reebok once but again not lasting significantly.
Similarly I have seen locals Forest Green Rovers and Cheltenham games live many many times in my life which is always raucous fun (just as music gigs or the theatre the immediacy of live sports events is exciting no matter how knowledgeable or how much you have invested personally or even economically if you like a flutter in the game). I never bothered in London cos games are so dear, Bristol likewise amongst other reasons and time commitments. Being back in Stroud I’ll catch up with FGR now (however off putting seeing ‘eco-tricity’ and Dale Vince around is). Going to live matches is always a treat even under 21s England games or tiny local teams.
I’ve always loved International tournaments. I cannot help but fully embrace the spirit of world cups and european tournaments even now since I don’t follow the domestic game anywhere near as closely as I did as a kid. Generally I’ve no longer even any tribal instinct of a team I properly support in the National league games but Internationals your hand is of course automatically played for you. England and Ireland for the grateful coincidence of my blood. I doubt I’ll ever be a season ticket holder for FGR or the local team of wherever I live in the future but I’ll always keep slightly abreast of things get to the odd match and the Internationals will always thrill me a great deal (I still remember crying when England bowed out of World Cup ’98, I was but a sprog afterall). Besides I’m glad nowadays I can still love and find the game exhilarating though can simultaneously laugh at the very concept of 22 men kicking a bladder round a green and not take it stupidly religiously or too sectarian and seriously as many do though (in the same daft way I did as a child). In that spirit then here are my four favourite comic football related sketches in no particular order the last being Adam/atom’s rant at the start of an episode of the brilliant New Low News Show.