Beat around the Bush

WHEN God created the world, little did he know that there would be two world wars, man would fly to the moon, and Andy Gray would be reckless enough to leave his microphone on. One thing he did know, however, was that Saturday was football day.

After toiling away at work for a week, many a football fan will elude their family duties, read countless pre-match reports and devote their whole Saturday to travelling up and down the country to be there, watching their beloved team walk out of the tunnel at 3pm.

Routines and superstitions, coupled with such dedication that only a football fan can describe, countless partners are constantly infuriated by an infatuation with one day of the week. As Bill Shankly once said – ‘football isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more important than that.’

Nothing beats the anticipation of wondering how well your team will play – whether they’ll come out more committed than a team of Jamie Mackies playing against a team of El Hadji Dioufs, or whether they’ll put in a performance not even worthy of taking your dog to watch.

Some may begin their pre-match ritual with a fry up from the local caf�; others may foolishly waste their children’s pocket money on a Clint Hill first goalscorer and QPR to win 5-0 scorecast.

One thing for sure, is that everyone will be united in an attempt to act as the team’s 12th man and will that ball over the goal line.

Sitting in the freezing cold for 90 minutes, the numbness extremely heightened by watching your team trudge off the pitch 3-0 down at half-time, coupled with the excruciating pain of witnessing an overweight 40-year-old attempting to take a penalty against the club mascot during the interval – fans live for these moments.

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Of course, with the frequent anguish of a football fan, comes the elation of taking home three points. Whether you’ve scraped a 1-0 win at Macclesfield on a Tuesday night, or whether you’ve trounced Swansea City 4-0 at home, Saturday nights surely don’t get better.

A sudden urge to watch Match of the Day and even stay up to the unearthly hours of the morning to watch Steve Claridge attempt to analyse the day’s play on the Football League show, just to relive the moment when Wayne Routledge has slotted the ball past the opposition keeper for the winner.

Monday may be tax return day. Tuesday may be laundry day. Friday might even be spent treating your wife to a bunch of flowers.

But we all know that Saturday is football day.