Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughSummer Time, And the Living Is.......Well, Boring - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Summer Time, And the Living Is.......Well, Boring - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Summer Time, And the Living Is…….Well, Boring

As another season draws to a close, it’s that time of year that, being a football fan, I hate. The summer. Obviously not when there is a World Cup or European Championships to look forward to. I mean a summer when there is no sign of a ball being kicked anywhere. An empty void between May and August when there is nowt on the telly and no live games anywhere to be had. Supporting my local football League team 10 minutes up the road, going to every home game, occasionally seeing your heroes buying trainers in the high street, it’s hard to go from that level of intensity to nothing.

You become what I like to call a Football Widower, much like hundreds of thousands of other like minded males. Males resigned to weekends which have been timetabled for them by their female counterparts. You’ve seen them – haunted-looking, expressionless men wandering aimlessly around B&Q or some out of town garden centre, lost souls mooching amongst the geraniums, staring into the middle distance. They look at you and give that little nod of recognition, that little raise of the eyebrows and sad smile which speaks volumes. In some bizarre group experiment that Derren Brown would be proud of, we’re all reading each others minds and coming up with the same answer – I miss football. You become a slave to the world of DIY and gardening. You get asked to do all those little jobs around the house that you’ve been putting off. But still you’re twiddling your thumbs, trying to keep the mind active whilst ticking off the days until the season starts.

Desperately you keep checking your team’s website, hoping for an announcement of a pre-season game. Frantically you keep scanning the TV guide. The local paper offers you nothing. You’re close to cracking. And then it happens, you suddenly see it – a Eurosport advert revealing they will be showing the Burnley U-19 B team’s pre-season tour of Bulgaria. Normally you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at such a thing, but you need it, you crave it, just to get that footy fix. It’s like being a crack addict, or a woman with chocolate.

So you watch the future stars of Turf Moor in a darkened room in the middle of a blazing hot summer’s afternoon. The wife and kids think you are mad. The sounds of outdoor life and fun and games waft in from the garden but you don’t care – you’ve been waiting almost 3 months for this. You don’t care that you have never heard of (and probably never will again) any of the players. You don’t care that the other team are so far down the Bulgarian Leagues that their goalkeeper is also a roofer by trade. You just need this 90 minutes and everything will be OK.

Then almost all at once, everyone starts announcing pre-season games. Bolton vs The Plough public house with all proceeds going to repairing the church roof….hmm…..tempting. Red Star Bromley vs Hull City…….pencil that one in. My team Southend vs Canvey in their annual ‘friendly’ (read- punch up)…..I’m there. 10 quid for a pre-season game? Oh well, maybe that tenner will make a dent in the £6 million debt.

You start to get a tinge of excitement as very slowly details of trialists start to emerge – oh look, it’s whatsisname, scored 20 for Luton 3 years ago. Oh yeah, Thingy Majigg, I remember him, he used to play for Macclesfield. So you pay your tenner and you see all the old faces in the stands, people you have spent the previous months and years going through various highs and lows with, yet you still don’t know their names. People you have probably confessed your darkest secrets to, things you wouldn’t dare tell your wife or husband, and yet you never see them outside of the ground. It’s like everyone hibernates until mid July, when they come out blinking & squinting into the sunlight to attend the friendly games.

So you get this first game out of the way, and everything starts to look rosy again. The season starts in 4 weeks. The wife says “that came round quick”. No love, it didn’t – didn’t you notice I was slowly going stark raving bonkers? The male of the species are smiling again, there’s a spring in their step. Normal service is slowly being resumed. And in 9 months time we’ll all become Football Widowers again. See you in B & Q.

Lee Morgan

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