The New Commandments Of Following Football

Because it's not easy being a fan these days

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At Home

1 | You must accept the fact that it’s now officially ok to like Gary Neville and hate Match of the Day. You may even find yourself agreeing with Glenn Hoddle too. These are topsy-turvy times.

2 | Never watch Sky Sports News unattended for longer than 26 minutes at a stretch. This is for mental health reasons.

3 | When watching football with your girlfriend, you have two choices. Attempt to involve (long-term strategy) or attempt to repel (short-term). Only you know which man you want to be.

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4 | Similarly, pick your remote control battles carefully. How far are you willing to push for the second half of Lille v Lyon?

5 | You must only watch MOTD on catch-up or Sky+. This is so you can fast forward the bits where three middle-aged men in tight shiny trousers decide if it was a penalty or not.

6 | When you start singing along to the Selco Builder’s warehouse jingle, take it as a sign to consider cutting down on Talk Sport.

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At The Ground

7 | Leaving a game after 80 minutes because you i) want to beat the rush, ii) are a bit tired or iii) need to pick up some courgettes on the way home are not acceptable reasons.

8 | When your team are 4-0 up, you can leave whenever you like.

9 | People taking photos of the pitch with their iphones are to be silently admonished and written off as tourists.

10 | People taking photos of the pitch with their iPads are to be openly and actively derided.

11 | The tactical chat you have with the stranger in the half-time toilet queue is the worst football chat you will ever engage in. That’s ok.

12 | Steer clear of the club shop, especially the leisurewear and home accessories sections.

At The Pub

13 | When your team loses an important game, you have 5 minutes to sulk openly in any way you like. After that, man up, you’re a grown adult.

14 | Embrace the World Cup’s fairweather fans with good grace. Their optimism, facepaint and lack of knowledge are a welcome counterpoint to your jaded cynicism.

15 | No one is as impressed as you are that you’ve read Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid.

16 | Things you probably shouldn’t do after you hit adulthood:

  • Recount tales that you had schoolboy trials for Cheshire.
  • Have your nickname on the back of a team shirt.
  • Bombard your mate with abusive texts as soon as your team beats his. Leave it half an hour.

At Work

17 | It’s not acceptable to excuse your Fantasy team’s performance by bemoaning a missed transfer deadline or picking the wrong captain. That is the game.

18 | Resist the urge to deliver a half-time hairdryer team talk to your work 5 a side team.

19 | It’s probably time you accepted you’ll probably never make it as a pro player. You’re 29.


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