Because I’m a bit sad, I’ve been reading old football magazines today.
I particularly enjoyed an interview with former Children’s BBC presenter Zoë Ball, where 90 Minutes journalist Nick Fiaca asked why she supported Manchester United. This was her response:
“Not because I fancy Ryan Giggs. It’s a mixture of things. My dad, Johnny Ball, is a big Liverpool fan, so I always adopted them as my team. I actually lived in Manchester for three years and used to go to Anfield quite a lot. I never actually went to Old Trafford, and most of my friends in Manchester supported City.
Then the last time I went to see Liverpool, I remember cheering for Oldham. It was the fans. Basically I went off watching Liverpool because the fans were abusive and I didn’t enjoy it. It was also the time of Graeme Souness and the atmosphere was a bit dodgy. Then I moved back to London and saw Man Utd play a Russian team in a friendly and the atmosphere was great. I used to go to QPR quite a lot because they’re next to the BBC, but my boyfriend supported Man Utd. I used to give him a really hard time about it, then I started watching them and really got into the team.”
I like this quote, because it’s a thoughtful response that you don’t always get from football supporters.
Unlike Tim Lovejoy – whom started supporting Chelsea, rather than Watford, for no apparent reason – I can understand why Zoë wanted to change teams.
For some fans, it’s probably difficult to support a team when they are uncomfortable with their fellow supporters or a change of direction at the club.
And, on occasions, they are unable to discover their “true” team instantly; it’s not as clear-cut as some fans make out and, for certain supporters, they may want to experiment.
However, Zoë’s views are misguided at times. For instance, she states:
“Basically, if United want to do well in Europe we need a sweeper at the back, and I couldn’t think of anybody who’d be a good one. The only person I could think of was Paul Ince.”
But, judging from the interview, it’s clear that she enjoys football, and she sees it as a fun hobby that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
In an odd way, she has probably got the right idea.
And it’s a pretty good mindset to end the year with. Happy New Year, everybody.
Fiaca, N. (1996) Zoë Ball’s Man Utd Dream Team. 90 Minutes, Saturday July 13 1996, p.25.
Lovejoy, T. (2007) Lovejoy on Football. London: Century, Random House.