"ENJOY YOUR RECOVERY TIME" - WHY DO I STRUGGLE WITH THAT?
DION - BLUES WITH FRIENDS

FOOTBALL IS BACK - WHY AM I NOT EXCITED?

Stocki and the Treble

So, tonight, the football is back. City verses Arsenal at the Etihad. It should be like Christmas Day. Three months without football is almost like the end of one season into another. Except that it has been worse. No international tournaments or pre season. 

Yet, I am not at all excited. I couldn’t seem to care less. It has been the biggest mystery of the lockdown. Where did my love for football go?

I haven’t watched one kick since City lost the Derby 2-0 to United on March 8th. There have been all kinds of repeated matches on television from Cup Finals to Internationals to Match of the Day that apparently one week declared City’s 3-2 win against QPR to steal the 2012 title out of Sir Alex’s hands as the best Premiership game ever. I didn’t even watch that.

Why? It might be that as a Manchester City fan I wasn’t caring because Liverpool had already the Premiership wrapped up. Indeed, I feel for their fans who have waited for so long to win the Premiership and will now not be in the stadium to celebrate it when it happens in the next week or two. 

Yet, just before lock down, the Manchester derby aside, City had just won the League Cup and took a 2-1 first leg lead in the Champions League over Real Madrid at the Bernabéu! We moved into the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup too. Lots to play for.

And yet I still cannot muster any great anticipation. I thought that maybe I was a freak and then yesterday my good friend, poet and songwriter Paul Cookson posted a poem. 

Now when it comes to football and poetry Paul is the main man. He is not only the official Poet In Residence for the National Football Museum but as an Everton fan has written poems about many of their legendary players, having them read at Memorial Services and printed in Everton programmes… even Duncan McKenzie’s biography!

So, Paul is as up to his emotional neck in football as I am and so his poem really resonated. Had he become the spokesman for a football fan generation:

 

I’m not looking forward to football again
Not missing the beautiful game
My team are unbeaten since I don’t know when
I’m glad to be free of the strain

 

The strain. That might be it. If this lockdown was a breather from that life we lived up until March 2020 then maybe I was just glad to be rid of the strain. It doesn’t seem to be a strain. It is only football after all. Yet, somehow in these three months I had been freed from something:

 

My nerves are un-shredded, my pulse rate is even

Moods – they don’t dip or change

 

Sadly, in what is only a game, this so true. 

So, the question is… is this a new normal. Football has been a huge part of my life and given me a door into relationships across the world. It is a part of who I am. Is it gone? Will it return? Do I want it to? Can I manage it now? 

So many questions. Yet one thing is for sure… as Paul concludes:

 

Now football is starting again

I've not missed the depression

But here’s my confession

I’ll probably watch every game.

 

Here is Paul's complete poem... printed with his permission

 

I’M NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO FOOTBALL AGAIN

I’m not looking forward to football again
Not missing the beautiful game
My team are unbeaten since I don’t know when
I’m glad to be free of the strain

I’m not looking forward to football again
It’s starting but won’t be the same
No doubt about it, since I’ve been without it
I’ve not had the heartache and pain

My nerves are un-shredded, my pulse rate is even
Moods – they don’t dip or change
No agitation, no aggravation
My passion, it seems on the wane

I’m not really bothered but no hesitation
Now football is starting again
I've not missed the depression
But here’s my confession
I’ll probably watch every game.

 

more about Paul Cookson here - http://paulcooksonpoet.co.uk

 

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