The football

And so begins the football season. As is my custom, I have been trying to get excited about it and failing badly. Not a year has gone by in the last ten when I haven’t decided that this will be the season when I recover my former enthusiasm for all things kicked and headed and craftily handled. It never works out. I can get through September and most of October, but sometime around Hallowe’en, I begin to stop caring. By Christmas I have as much interest in who wins the Premiership as I have in who wins the annual Bolivian Ker-Plunk tournament (where veteran Arturo Castillo is aiming for a record fifth consecutive title – yawn). The problem, no doubt, is that I don’t support any particular team. I used to, mind, when I was a child. Like every other Irish schoolboy, I more or less tossed a coin that said Liverpool on one side and Manchester United on the other. Mine came up Manchester and that was that, like an arranged marriage. But somewhere along the way, I realised that – wait a minute – I had never been to Manchester or even met anyone from there. My devotion to one of its football teams was utterly random and sort of silly. So I drifted away. With the benefit of hindsight and powerful hallucinogens, however, I now see that randomness and silliness is the whole point. You just pick a team and get on with it. So this year, I’m making a special effort. I’m going to get a randomised list of all Premiership teams and I’m going to stick a pin in it. Repeatedly, until it hits Newcastle (I like their shirts).

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