The Rant

Why It's A Father's Job To Pick Their Son's Football Team

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It is every father’s duty to indoctrinate his children. Not in the ways of politics or religion or fashion, music and manners but in the important stuff like which team they are going to support for the rest of their lives. It starts with baby grows and bibs and onesies emblazoned with the team’s badge. Then posters, replica kits, calendars, duvet covers and wallpaper.

Teach your children well, sang Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (unless that’s Manchester United’s new back four). Better still to indoctrinate your children well. Then when they leave home to discover sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll and mess up their lives, at least you’ll always have the glory and the heartache of your team to talk about when they call home to ask if you can send them more money to buy college books (drugs).

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All of which brings us to Edward Mellor and his parents Leigh and Kate in Prestatyn, North Wales. He told his parents he didn’t want to support struggling Newcastle United with their charmless Blunderbuss owner anymore. He wanted to pick the defending champions Manchester City with all their superstar players and trophies. Yes, children will always want to choose the vogue team. But they are children. There is no choice. They should be told who to pick. That’s why parents are called guardians.

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There should be no blame attached to young Master Mellor. It is Leigh and Katie who should be on the naughty step. What on earth was dad, a Manchester City supporter, doing buying three-year-old Junior a pair of Newcastle United goalkeeper gloves?

What on earth was mum doing buying her little darling 20 (you read that correctly) replica Newcastle shirts? That’s two every year. “Imagine the amount of handbags and shoes I could have bought over the years instead of the kit,” said mum. Well, yes. Or imagine the amount of money you could have put to better use. Now Edward’s room is having a makeover to turn it from a Newcastle shrine into a Manchester City one with new curtains, flags, scarves, rugs and bedding. Imagine the amount of handbags and shoes.

Now if this whole sorry tale isn’t embarrassing enough, mum and dad invited the local newspaper, the Newcastle Journal, to set up a photograph of mummy’s little treasure resplendent in his new Sky Blue colours dumping his once beloved Black and White striped kits into a wheelie bin. The kid will never live this down. Dad will probably shame him on his wedding day and they’ll all have a jolly good laugh. Except Edward, who will be weeping over the wedding cake. He only wanted to go to the games with his dad and older brother, bless him.

The sporting gods let their displeasure be known by ensuring that, on the opening day of the new Premiership season, Newcastle United would host Manchester City. Two-nil to City. Hurrah for Team Edward. But was it really the right result? Edward would be better off picking a new family instead of a new football team.

Memo to parents and guardians: the only things children should be allowed to pick are strawberries and noses.

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