Way back when, I promised this blog would include musings on football. To date, it has not, for one reason or another.
Today I just had to say something after a quite breathless and nerve-shredding end to the English Premiership season.
Manchester City’s two added-time goals to clinch the title for the first time in 44 years caused one of the biggest waves of emotion and outpourings of joy and relief I’ve ever seen in a football ground. It reminded me of a similar moment in 1998 when a Henrik Larsson-inspired Celtic won the Scottish Premier League for the first time in a decade and stopped Rangers’ seemingly inexorable march to 10 in a row.
It’s hard to love Citeh, as it’s hard to love any nouveau riche football club. With their sheikh owner’s untold wealth, their ability to pay players £200k per week and their apparent lack of class, morals and backbone where wantaway golfer Carlos Tevez was concerned, it all seems a tad tawdry. But oh my, when it comes to the actual football and when this team are in full flight, they can be irresistible and a dream to watch.
So today when they grabbed an equaliser against QPR followed by the sublime Kun Aguero whacking in a magnificent winner, I was on my feet.
And when the camera panned to their ecstatic fans, in a state of shock and utter euphoria, I felt the same tears pricking my eyes that I had 14 years ago. I was thrilled for the Citeh fans and I hope they party like it’s 1998.
I’d already shed a wee tear today when Celtic collected the SPL trophy after – eventually – cantering to the title. Seeing Neil Lennon holding the trophy aloft was a pretty special moment and while the game against Hearts was virtually meaningless, seeing Gary Hooper score all five goals in a 5-0 trouncing was also pretty damned special!
Emotions run high in football and you’re either up or you’re down. Right now we – the green and white half of Glasgow (and beyond) – are up as high as it’s possible to be, just as the blue half of Manchester is experiencing joy unbridled. The Reds, not so much.
For me, you can only have one team – only one side will ever truly capture your heart and inspire your passion. For me, it’s Celtic, For my lovely other half, it’s West Ham. And so next Saturday she will be going through more of that nerve-shredding, nail-biting tension as her beloved Hammers take on Blackpool in the play-off final, bidding to get back into the EPL so they can take on champions Citeh next season.
Football, eh? It’s a bloody nightmare. And I love it. Roll on next season!