Football Chat

I was sitting in the staff common room the other day and chatting to a female member of staff when another male member of staff came in.

Ian, I was at the ‘Stones match last night”

This was an interesting comment. Firstly it was directed at me and not me and the female in the room. It was also about football and the local team Maidstone United.

Now, I really don’t do association football. I just don’t find it interesting. I’m happy to go to a match and I have seen a few premiership teams play [Southampton, Everton, Tottenham and whomever Spurs were playing]. Watching the match live is an experience and one I enjoy but on the whole, football [or association football as I insist on calling it] just plain bores me. I really don’t understand watching it on television. I also don’t really follow it. I pick bits and pieces up from the radio in the morning and I have a working knowledge but not enough to have a major “bloke” conversation.

I do have a team: Tottenham Hotspur. I have this team for the simple reason that my father and other family members support them. That’s it. Geographically this is a good choice as I grew up in Essex but my ancestors are from the east end of London and so any of the north east London teams would be a good choice [except Arsenal, as much as I don’t care the ‘Spurs thing runs deep]. I keep an eye on the scores and results of ‘Spurs matches, that’s about it. I find it hard to get fanatical about the England team when they enter big competitions as it all seems rather jingoistic and I have issues with the English “identity” [more on that another time].

So, back to the conversation starter:

Ian, I was at the ‘Stones match last night”

This would have been better directed at the female in the room for all I cared. But I was now stuck in a quandary. Should I say:

Sorry, I don’t really do football. Could we talk about the NFL?

What I ended up doing, and in my head I could see the IT Crowd episode when they learn how to talk “football”, was say:

Oh, how was it? I heard they were doing well in the league.

This formed the basis for a conversation that I had no interest in completing or taking part but words were exchanged and as much as I wasn’t fussed I think the other person felt we had a meaningful exchange. I felt a little more “bloke”. Funny how it’s assumed that I must know about a particular topic because of my sex. Now, if everyone had read my twitter profile, that might help!