Friday, 17 July 2009

Hi, I'm Mat, and this is a new blog about football. Hopefully it'll be interesting, enjoyable and maybe even funny, sometimes. There are a number of reasons I'm starting this blog today:

1. I miss football.

It's the middle of July and football just seems so distant. Not counting the miserably unsatisfying Confederations Cup (there's something that's just not right about matches showing at 7pm on BBC Three, where the USA are winning and the South Africans are blowing those obnoxious horns all the way through the match), football finished with England's demolition of Andorra on the 10th of June.

It's still a month until the Premier League kicks off and I'm literally itching for some real sport. I long for the hilarious new away kits, Garth Crooks arguing every point to the death even when he's wrong, Benitez's paranoid serial killer notebooks and Manchester City trying to squeeze Robinho, Tevez, Santa Cruz and Adebayor into a strike force that somehow works.

Sure, Wimbledon was distracting, Formula 1 is an amusing political car crash and the Ashes does fit perfectly into the gap before the season kicks off but when I flick around on the TV on Saturdays and I actually don't know what to watch (in the absence of the time-honoured Football Focus - Soccer Saturday - Final Score - pub - Match of the Day sequence), I just feel, you know, really really sad.

2. It's a project.

For a few months now I've been rolling around in my head an idea for a project, originally a book (to be called Who Are Ya!?, hence the blog-o-name), that would feature a collection of weird and wonderful football clubs from around the world - looking at their histories, fans and quirky traditions.

In my head it fits into the much-maligned 'gift book' category, and is largely inspired by reading two great books on the world game: Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper and Behind the Curtain by Jonathan Wilson. I can highly recommend both of them to any football fan - and anyone who needs ammunition when arguing that yes, football is important. Essentially, thanks to Kuper and Wilson, I now like to think I can scoff confidently, and rightly, when someone assures me that it's "just a game".

These two books have astounding, jaw-dropping stories on almost every page, and a way of distilling these into a more accessible format really appealed to me - and the assorted football fans I described it to. As such this blog is going to act as a form of research and a test run for the project, I think. I'm going to try to update the blog at least once a week, each time with another fascinating, mysterious football team from, like, around the world.

3. Football is a diary

I've started little emo-ish blogs before as attempts at keeping a diary. I do and see a lot of stuff that I want to record but it either doesn't stick or I just can't be bothered writing about it. Football, I've realised, is the perfect thing to anchor my memories to - mainly because they just seem to do that anyway, but also because it operates on it's own handy cyclical calendar, and is fastidiously recorded by statisticians and far more obsessed individuals than I.

For example, my girlfriend and I take our anniversary from our first proper date. She doesn't remember exactly when this is, but I do: Sunday June 29th 2008. How do I know? Because it was the Euro 2008 final, and i totally wasn't watching Spain beat Germany over her shoulder in the pub we met in. This might seem sad to some people, but, hey, it works for me. As Harry Hill says, you've got to have a system, haven't you?

So that's the blog idea, basically. I hope people want to read it, but don't really mind if they don't. I don't have a lot of close friends that are big football fans (most of them downright loathe it) so it's nice to have somewhere to vent my ideas and observations on the ridiculous, absurd, beautiful, heartbreaking, stressful and, above all, important "game" that lots of us quite like. I'm not going to say who I support yet because if you're reading this a) you might well know and b) you might not like me any more.




  1. love it. putting this on my links page.

  2. Holy Gods, I understand precious little of this.

  3. @mike I'll take that as a compliment/condiment.