Aston Villa vs Ipswich Town

Aston Villa vs Ipswich Town by Tom

Over the last few months I’d been feeling un-characteristically up-beat and positive. Some close ones could even say intolerably smug. That would be rude of them to say, but I was so chipper it wouldn’t have mattered.

It was time to knock myself down a peg or two. It was time to watch The Villa.

I had agreed at Christmas to go and watch a game with my Dad and younger Brother. Today was the big day and such was my excitement that I had in fact forgotten all about it. 4 missed calls later, my Dad finally got a hold of me and reminded me of my commitment. I had 30 minutes to get 30miles to meet him at his house so we could travel to the match together. This 30 minute drive would turn out to be the highlight of the day. Seriously, it was a great drive and I should be reviewing that – gear shift ferocity n all. Maybe I will. Maybe I don’t want to incriminate myself. Or bore you.

For those who don’t follow the ‘beautiful’ game, Aston Villa are one of the most historically important and triumphant clubs in English football. They were one of the founding teams of the English Football League and have won nearly all the major trophies that a domestic team can win. Which makes watching them in the 21st century all the more depressing when you realise how a club with such a rich and successful past can be consistently so poor.

Villa were relegated from the premier league last season (a long time coming). They had been in the top flight for the same time I’ve been alive and so with the club’s sudden drop, I had declared ‘enough’ and my interest in football has flagged ever since. So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I didn’t go to this game with high hopes. It was more out of morbid curiosity – and to please my Father.

I wasn’t as much interested in the game itself as I was with the nation’s unwavering fixation with a sport that sees 22 insanely rich men with no incentive, politely kick a ball about for 90mins, hoping they don’t get injured. Not in case they miss their next fixture, but more so they can go home and shag one of their mistresses with more effort than they put into the game. Why should we give a shit about these arseholes? Hasn’t it all become irrelevant? I understand there was a time when communities got together and once a week supported their town through their local club. But that was before globalisation. Before the internet. Before porn and better things to do.

As we entered the stadium, you get hit with a real sense of importance and energy. For a moment I got lost in this. Then I crashed back down to Earth when I thought, “I have a PS4 at home”. That sounds sad doesn’t it. But it’s not, I’d be warm, safe and having fun. I also wouldn’t be standing in a puddle of spilled Bovril. Seriously who the fuck still drinks Bovril? And that’s it isn’t it. It’s still the same, these poor fans that time forgot. Clinging onto an age that no longer exists, looking for the meaning of supporting a team that couldn’t give two fucks. The players certainly don’t.

Which brings me onto the game. When I watch football on the telly, I’m always amazed at how shit the players are verses how much they are paid. Well, it’s accentuated when you watch it live. How can someone on £30K a week miss a pass by 6ft? Surely you spend all week practicing? It’s two fingers up to the supporters, but as I look at them, they are lapping it up. Cheering, clapping, booing, chanting poorly rhyming spells. At this point I was feeling a bit lost. What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I like this? Why don’t I enjoy it? Am I gay? No, wait, football fans are allowed to be gay now – the signs told me this when I entered the ground. Maybe I shouldn’t analyse anymore. So I stopped. A strange thing then happened. I switched off. I then started to enjoy myself a little more and engage. Suddenly I realised that this is escapism. Like a shitty Jason Statham (post Guy Ritchie) movie. I started cheering. Then I started Boo-ing. Ipswich Town scored. Then the final whistle. 0-1 Ipswich. What’s the bloody point?

Reading this back, perhaps as a review it doesn’t make sense? Neither does this fucking game.