Some of you may have worked out from the title of this post that the letter F reason to be cheerful is football. Let's be clear about this, I am talking about what is technically known as association football, in which the round ball is kicked. Americans are inclined to refer to this game as soccer.
Cue a collective groan from all those who can't stand football. Well, I'm sorry, but I like football and I happen to think that at its basic level it is a very democratic sport. I accept that its international administration does resemble the activities of the Medici family in 15th and 16th century Italy, but in some ways that is partly why I like the sport. The political manoeuvring can be fascinating.
Football can offer something for everyone - tears and laughter, pleasure and pain. It is a lesson in life: strive and you will succeed, except for when you don't and some feckless chancers come out on top causing you untold angst.
I have no doubt that there are fans of many other sports who are adamant that their chosen sports are superior to football. All I would observe is that football is one of the few sports where kids will just get on and play it in the street or wherever they happen to be. They may play it badly, following rules that they interpret in their own way, but give them a ball - any size will do - or even just a tin can and they'll get on with it.
|Youth football in Cambodia. Most of the players appear to be|
barefoot apart from one who has just one flip-flop.
For sure, it is easy, and not unfair, to be critical of football for the way the top tiers of the game are dominated by money, but for those of us who follow more humble teams, money only becomes an issue because there's not enough of it. As long as our team survives to fight another day and maybe, just maybe, has a really good result which leads us to think that this will be the season they exceed expectations then we're happy.
So why the title for this post? Those of you familiar with football pundits, those people whose ability to talk seems to be in inverse proportion to being able to come up with any meaningful comments, are reputed to refer to football as "a game of two halves". In football-watching circles this is known as stating the bleedin' obvious, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Lots of songs to go with football, some better than others. New Order's World in Motion was recorded to be the official England team song for the Italia 90 World Cup. Sadly, not even having a group such as New Order doing your team song was enough of a help although England did get through to the semi-finals. Ah, well, there's always Russia 2018....if we qualify.
- Question: Do you support a football team? If so, which one? If not, why not? Answers in the comments section beneath, please. For those of you who are wondering, I support Gillingham, pride of the middle reaches of English League One.
* Picture of Cambodian footballers used under General Product Licence.