You know what it's like don't you? you've felt like crap for the past two weeks, really can't be arsed to do anything and just want to ming, unwashed, in bed like the monster from the bog of eternal stench. Well, that was me last Sunday, but unfortunately, Sunday is also football day, which, in turn handed me a bit of a teaser. Was I really so bedridden, decrepit and in need of intensive care that I couldn't possibly, under any circumstances, jump in the car for the ninety minute drive to Javea to watch their 1630 kick off against Santa Pola? Having missed just the one 'Pola match in the last couple of years, the answer probably took all of ten seconds to come to me.
Three hours later, fortified by a Big Mac and chips I didn't really want and never even finished, the stop start rain that slowed my progress North was back as I pulled into the car park at Javea's municipal stadium. Immediately, I noticed the place had no roof, fanfuckingtastic! Huddled under my brolly, complete with fingerless mittens and, for the first time this season, woolly hat, I did my best to enjoy what quickly became a very poor first half of football, the kind of game that has nil-nil written all over it five minutes in. The fact I managed to coax my knackered body into not falling asleep during a dire first period is more due to the effect of stinging raindrops on my eyelids that any effort of will power on my part.
Bereft of anything whatsover resembling taste, the only useful function of my half time cup of coffee at most away grounds is to warm my hands up, today, a miserable dark and damp Sunday, was no different. I retook my uncomfortable concrete seat in the uncovered stand with a nagging dread about what the second half might bring. Today, I didn't even have the luxury of bellowing profranities at either the opposition players or match officials because a good ten days ago I'd reduced my voice to some croaky silent thing following a violent, three day coughing fit. These days I was only capable of emitting strangulated utterances, curious noises that would make even Stephen Hawking say "Pardon?"
One hour and three goals later, only one of which was scored by Santa Pola, I headed for the exit numb with cold, more than a little pissed off and seriously wondering why I bothered. My next task was to find an amenable local cafe with internet connection to tap out a match report for the newspaper, I could see with this I would struggle because during Javea's 2-1 win I'd managed to scribble all of seven lines in my notebook. Proper journalism, if it never happened pretend it did!!
On the evening that Barcelona took on Real Madrid in the big one, I stumbled across the only bar in the Costa Blanca with indifferent locals. All of four people rammed themselves inside the place and took more interest in me than the biggest footy match of the season so far, mentally, I compared my devotion to theirs.
500 and odd difficult words later, shortly after nine fifteen, I arrived home thoroughly delighted I'd made the effort, my initial doubts were answered by smiles, brief conversations and numerous handshakes from the twenty man travelling 'Pola squad and management team, each of whom, just like every week home or away, appreciated somebody bothering. This weekend, only ten 'Pola fans made the effort.
Tell me again why I bothered? Simple, your football team is your football team, win lose or draw, they piss you off on a regular basis, you might might spend the next two hours seriously hacked off, but tomorrow, you can't wait to watch them again!