It is thanks to a specific person, amongst others, if that game did in fact become ‘beautiful’ in my eyes. Although I often forget it, that person is my father. My father, who, ironically, is perhaps one of the most passive football fans I have ever met. And still, he was able to gift me with what is currently one of my greatest passions. The majority of football-related things this man has done, he has done for my benefit - not for himself.
There are certain moments in life that bring one to question the fundamental motivations behind their decisions, like a lonely Sunday afternoon spent at home, wondering if everything you ever did made any sense. Well, for me, one of those moments occurred during a balmy Saturday afternoon, in Edgar Street, Hereford.
My Dad, although not a Football fan, was a fan of technology. In April of 1990 he bought a new television system called BSB, meaning we had a Squarial Antenna fitted to the house. This included a Sports Channel and, to my amazement, one Sunday afternoon I was able to sit down, armed with a coffee and a cigarette, in front the TV. On that fatidic Sunday, I stumbled across a live Italian Football match - that is, perhaps, when my love affair began.
It was with that familiarly dispirited feeling that I made the journey from Dumfries back to my hometown of Glasgow on 7th November 2012 to watch my team take on the might of FC Barcelona. The late Tito Vilanova had essentially picked up where Guardiola had left off, continuing to hone the specific brand of football Barça had become renowned for. I remember parting ways with my two friends at the turnstiles, my final words being, “Enjoy it! Messi might tear us to bits but it’ll be a joy to watch!” A joy it was, but for very different reasons.
A lifeline emerged, and City fans who had been walking to the exit heard the cheers and quickly rushed back to their seats. ‘Two or three more attacks left’ I thought, as Nigel De Jong picked up the ball from deep and pushed forward, passed it to Aguero, who played a 1-2 with Balotelli to receive the ball in box… and the rest...well, the rest is history.
Every aspiring sports journalist will always remember the first game they covered. I was lucky enough to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic feature in mine, in what was a weekend I’ll never forget. One week away from my 19th birthday, I got the confirmation: I was going to cover the French SuperCup between PSG and Lyon in Montreal. With Ibrahimovic, Verratti and Thiago Silva rolling into town, I could barely contain my excitement. While PSG won the game easily, I will always remember that night as the night Ibra “rejoined” Milan.
As a life-long Toronto FC fan, the feeling was indescribable. Right after the final whistle in the Conference Final, my buddies and I had only one thing our our mind: tickets. Needless to say, we ended up doing it. No matter how much they were going to cost, I, together with five mates, was on my way to the final.
Once more, I have been helplessly lured in by the charme of England's lower leagues. Last week I (consentingly) made my way to the Ricoh Arena (Coventry) for the Checkatrade Trophy: perhaps a step-up from Non-League football, perhaps not.