Monday, 17 February 2014

Football & The Working Man - An Increasingly Twisted Love

This is something I wrote last Friday (February 14th), but lost (and since recovered) due to technical issues. It is about the most manipulative, tortuous and frustrating love you can have. It was probably more relevant as a Valentine's lament to the game we love, but a few days doesn't change anything.
Given weekend events at Bramall Lane it may seem a little incongruous, but this is more about lamenting the modern game in general and not my club on it's own.
It is a relationship that is a long term commitment.

At times you can argue it is a one way relationship. You put so much in to get so little back.

You do not have a monogamous partner. Yet you look at no other.

Despite this one-eyed devotion, your share of its time rises and falls over time.
Some say love is a gift, bestowed freely, willingly and without expectation. But this is different; there is always an expectation, and if not expectation there is hope. Hope that grinds you down over time, it might diminish, but always lingers.
The moments, when they come are, magical, full of ecstacy and emotion, but they are all too rare. 

You invest time, energy and money, yet it increasingly exploits you. The meals become more expensive, the clothes they insist you buy, to demonstrate your love, increase in cost.

They say you should show your love in new and inventive ways, buying bricks in walls, onesies, assorted over-priced tat. But it brings little reward and leaves you spent out.

You recognise all of its faults - that you blithely accept - but rarely the virtues. But those virtues become harder and harder to see as time moves on.

The number of little things that niggle increase year on year.

It invites you into its arms, yet leaves you unable to see it's wares.

It can ignore what you want and like; changing the way they look, wearing red when you hate it, changing their given name to something they think will further their future development.

It can leave you stranded in another city, with no means of transport home, just because the TV companies asked for an appearance.

It can move away to another town or city without a thought as to how you will cope or keep the relationship alive.

The lure of money and power is often too much and you just cannot compete.

There are times you sense it wouldn’t miss you if you wasn't there, such is the myriad of others courting attention, offering riches that you just cannot match.

Over time you realise that it is something that actually bears little resemblance to what you first started a relationship with in the first place. 

Your devotional manner masks the bloated garish mess it has become.

It's ego has got bigger, interest in it has widened.
You share it with others who increasingly argue that they love it more, that they are more special, that they deserve more attention, that they deserve to be treated better.

It is a relationship played out in front of a feverish media, all looking to exploit any minor connection to make up a story, to try and break the relationship or any party involved. Your resolve remains strong.

It is a relationship played out against a backdrop of social media bullying, banter from people you have never met and never will do and a large yellow rolling banner telling you the latest exclusive news about your love.

The physical and emotional blows increase in severity. One kick in the balls follows another. But still you are there, unable to walk away.

It tells you that you are great, that you are important and valued, yet finds increasingly expensive ways to test you.

Drink makes it easier. It makes the day pass quicker, makes the state of play look better. But that isn't the answer.

And still you suffer painful pangs for the things you held dear - most now obliterated, never to return.

That which first attracted you in the first place.

Now just distant memories or at best fleeting moments.

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