Growing up football was never a massive thing in my family, when I say that everyone seemed to have a team. Growing up in Essex most people supported West Ham at the time and a few supported Chelsea. But I can never remember any of my relatives going on a football match.
In the 80s football violence was terrible and you used to see it on the news, people on the pitch and fighting. So no you were never ever getting me on football match.
Then I moved to Burnley and couldn’t believe it, I had moved to a town of football hooligans, well they had to be? They all had season tickets. In Burnley football is more of a religion, a way of life to some. They are so, so passionate about football and their team. Clearly they were all mad, I mean why would you. Then I met Chris and couldn’t believe he too was a total fanatic, I realised Burnley Football Club would always be part of my Life.
I went on to have two wonderful Boys, so no ballet for me just football, football and more football. Now I am not being stereotypical in any way because they were boys. Yet the passion seems to be in their blood arghhh.
So here I am surrounded by blooming football, they have offered me a season ticket but I told them don’t be ridiculous, football matches are full of hooligans and definitely not for me.
Then a couple of weeks ago Chris had to go to Finland on business. Between themselves, without consulting me they arranged that I would take them on the match. I mean come on, I don’t do football is no one listening. Yet apparently it had been arranged Granddad was busy so it had to be me!
I was quite worried I have to say, I mean I have built these hooligans up in my head all of my life, Chris had told me it was safe. And of course I wouldn’t have allowed the Boys to go if I didn’t believe that. But I had still avoided it like the plague.
So you can imagine my surprise when I loved it! Yes you read right I loved the Burnley match; all the people we came into contact with were lovely. As we walked around the outside of the Turf (Ha ha get me football speak) there were grown men getting their photos taken with Bertie Bee the Burnley mascot. And do you know what? I wanted a picture of the Boys for my blog and they were lovely, moved out-of-the-way so the boys could get their photo done.
At one stage I was trying to take a photo and a man stopped me and told me how to get a better perspective. The man we sat next to was lovely. And yes there was some low-level swearing but nothing aggressive. I can honestly say to all those people like me who were scarred by images of 80s media that football is great it is friendly and fun.
It was wonderful to watch the Boys pride on their faces as they told me how it all worked and had to keep explaining what was going on. And I knew I loved it when I jumped out of my seat when they scored. At times my heart was in my mouth, when they or the other team nearly scored.I felt totally safe at all times.
There were lots of families, everybody there for one thing to support their team and have a great time. So if like me you are resisting, give it a go it actually is very exciting and a fab family afternoon. If you are anything like me, you may find yourself following the scores after. But Chris and the Boys just in case you do read this, it does not mean I want a Burnley shirt. I draw the line there.I will wear a bobble hat but that is it.
But yes you were right all along football is for families.And it’s not that Northerners are hooligans, just that my family are fair weather supporters, sofa fans and there is nothing wrong with that. But you really do have to go on a match to feel the atmosphere, at least once. The problem there is once you go, you will want to go back again and again.