Football Crazy, Football Mad: Final Whistle

This is my last column, and as it happens it coincides with both the end of my time at Glasgow uni and the end of the Scottish football season.  It’s been a big one, with concomitant joy and despair. It’s hard to narrow this down, but here are my personal highlights of the year.

Rangers manager Graham Murty inexplicably did a headstand during a match. Linesman and Tory MP Douglas Ross tripped over his own feet running away from an incoming ball and full on decked it. Celtic player Mikael Lustig celebrated a goal by nicking a policeman’s hat. Queen of the South goalkeeper Sam Henderson was injured by a runaway cow. Gary Mackay-Steven, an Aberdeen player, jumped into the Kelvin after a night getting mwi at Sanctuary (and was fine). Inverness named their mascot Lionel Nessi. Scottish football has really hit new heights.   

I love the whole mess, and I’m going to really miss not being quite so involved in the whole football community. For the first time in a long time I don’t know when next I’ll be heading to a match. I’m physically moving away from my childhood team and it’s a bittersweet feeling. On the one hand, life goals and career opportunities blah blah, on the other football.

It’s been a regular part of my life for yonks now, and I’m not sure what I’ll do with my weekends now that I don’t have a standing commitment most Saturdays. I’d like to say I’ll get more uni work done, but who’s fooling who with that one.

I guess the truth it I’ll still be glued to some form of screen trying to watch illegal streams and relentlessly refreshing Old Firm Facts on twitter to keep up with all the patter. At this point, it’s really not a choice for me to stop being a fan – once you have that love you’d be surprised how far you’d go to watch your team.  

A friend of my granda’s was once in a fix, when his team Celtic progressed through to the European Cup Final in 1967, and he didn’t have the money to travel to the final in Lisbon. So he did what any reasonable person would – sold his house behind his wife’s back and hot-footed it across the continent. As it turned out, Celtic won the highest title in club football – which they have never repeated – so this guy probably regrets nothing. His wife, I’m not too sure.

As insane as that story sounds, it’s a big mood. Given the emotional and historical significance of an event like that for fans, you’d be hard pressed to stop me from making my way to a European final by hook or by crook. Of course, I’m a millennial and will likely never own a house, so I’ll have to resort to selling my avocado collection instead. I’ve considered the possibility, and determined that I would be able to make that sacrifice.

But anyone who’s read any of the previous columns knows all this – I wear my passion for my team on my rolled up sleeves. I want this to be more than just a love letter. As well as being an outlet for me to talk shit about football, I’m trying to show just how enrichment being a football fan can bring to your life. Some of my best moments have been at football matches, and it’s helped in countless friendships. If I can get this out of it, anyone can really. I got into football late, and never overcame having two left feet, but now it’s such an important part of my life.

Alongside the life changes post-undergrad which are removing me slightly from my team, with graduation also comes the dreaded question: “What are your plans then?” I may not have figured out a neat sound bite to disguise the fact that I’m still skim reading and winging it, but now I finally have a fixed milestone around which to hang all my life decisions. If Celtic’s streak of league titles continues, in 3 years time I’ll be back in Glasgow to see an unprecedented 10 in a row.  Because once you’re in this deep, there’s no going back – it’s a cult baby, and I’m loving every minute of it.

[Louise Wylie – @womanpendulum]

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