When I was little, my parents made what was, I suppose a natural assumption that, being a boy, I would like football. They were wrong.
However, they seemed determined to make me like it and essentially chose a team for me to support. The reason for this choice was simple, my brother was a huge fan of Leeds United. For what seemed like weeks before a very important game, he had made countless comments about how Leeds were the better team, were bound to win; that the opponents were rubbish, yadda yadda yadda. He was absolutely destroyed when Leeds United were beaten, quite decisively, by Chelsea. Naturally, I laughed a lot and more than did a little taunting . . .
To my parents eyes, this became “Oh, he must support Chelsea” and from then on, I got Chelsea based football paraphernalia for birthdays, Christmas, etc.. I had posters on the wall of Peters Bonetti , Houseman and Osgood , as well as the team; scarves and football shirts and so on.
Then came the single “Blue is the Colour”. I think I got that for my Birthday. I didn’t particularly like it, but even at the tender age of eight, I had learned to show appreciation.
I didn’t like the single, though. But I did like the B-side, “All Sing Together”.
It’s a song I haven’t thought about for some forty years, but I remembered the words and the melody perfectly. I know this because, obviously, because I checked and it’s up on Youtube.
It’s terrible, but the damned thing has been stuck in my head for the best part of four days now.
There were other attempts trying to engage my interest in football, notably when I was duped into seeing Watford vs Preston North End in 1971. Apparently, my dad had come into mine and my brothers room after we were both in bed – he was late back from work – and asked us if we wanted to go to a football match the following afternoon. Apparently, “mmmmrrrngnrrrmff” was interpreted as “Golly, yes please Dad” and we were woken early the following morning to go and see this damned game.
I was appalled. I had no recollection of this conversation! I hadn’t agreed to this! It was an affront to my anti-football sensibilities! I was grumpy for the entire journey there and back but worse yet, my Dad and his friend got what they considered to be a fantastic position in the standing area, right at the front.
The problem was that the wall we were standing against was a full foot taller than I was. My entire view for two hours of crushed, screaming hell was of a piss stained, rank stench, concrete wall.
And people do this for fun?
A few weeks later the same thing happened and when I said I didn’t want to go, I was told categorically that I had enjoyed myself last time and I was bloody well going! I hadn’t. I hated every bloody second.
I did mange to entirely ruin the second match for everyone by being a complete brat for the duration, but I figured it the least I could do given the hateful position I was put in.
I was never asked to go again.