Born in the summer of 1960, I didn’t see my first live senior football until April 1971. It was a barren end of season encounter between Ipswich Town and the soon to be deposed Football League Division One champions Everton. Three of the first four games that I witnessed finished goalless whilst the fourth was a bitter home defeat for Ipswich to Sheffield United. I like to think that those first four games provided the tough education I needed, showing me that football was a bastard of a game and would only ever ultimately end in disappointment and this is why forty five and more years later I am capable of watching any football match and enjoying it; because you have to get your pleasure out of football where you can, even if you have to make it all up in your head.
So this blog is a cathartic exercise for me as well of course as being my very own vanity project, because like all football fans I have a view of the game and I want to impose it on everyone else. This is the age in which we live, when people of no particular talent with no real insight get off on telling the world what they think , hence Facebook and Twitter, hence Brexit and Donald Trump.
On the other hand, I really love football. Some of that love is for the game itself, but a lot of it is for what surrounds it: the journey to the ground, the pre-match beer, the smell of frying onions, the club shop, the FA cup draw, the new season’s fixtures, the rain, the chanting, the swearing, the results on the radio, the joy, the despair, bar scarves , knowing you’ll be back on Saturday week whatever happens, and just being there.
So, this blog is a celebration of football as wonderful and bloody awful and appallingly run as it is. I am an Ipswich Town season ticket holder and have been continuously since 1983, but despite my unfailing love for the Towen, I am promiscuous in my love of the game and have feelings for Brighton & Hove Albion (due to three years of university), Portsmouth (due to my dad and my wife and the Pompey fans) and, due to geography, Colchester United, Braintree Town and Wivenhoe Town where I was on the committee for a couple of years. But I am such a tart when it comes to football that I also have teams in France; Montpellier, FC Sete, St Etienne, Nice, Red Star and possibly Amiens are all teams I have taken a bit of a shine to. Oh, and I look out for the results of Haverfordwest County in the Welsh Football League, because that’s where I was born; one day I hope to see them play.
This blog will provide reports (of a sort) of the matches that I watch, but because I like to get around a bit I also aim to provide some detail about getting to places and local customs which I hope will make this blog of use to other people who want to travel about to see games. I also intend to review a few of the many, many, many books that are now available about football.