Oh I can see some Lamperry here 😉😭
How are you - without Ash, without Lamps? How are you?
- Interviewer: How are you without Lamps and Ash?
- JT: To be honest, I feel kind of lost
As long as the Chelsea fans keep singing my name, I couldn’t care less what anyone else says or writes. Players get older, players move on. I’m gonna give my all this season to make sure at the end of the season, that’s not me.
Over the years I have argued that football is a stupid game in which 22 overpaid nancy boys with idiotic hair run around a field attempting to kick an inflated sheep’s pancreas into some netting while an audience of several thousand van drivers beat one another over the head with bottles and chairs.
Nor could I understand how someone from Tooting could possibly support, say, Manchester United, a team sponsored by those hateful bastards at AIG and made up of players from Portugal, France, Holland and, in the case of Wayne Rooney, Walt Disney. Where’s the connection? What’s the point?
I have also suggested that it’s preposterous to have football stadiums in the middle of cities. Why should anyone be delayed by match traffic just so a handful of thugs can watch a Brazilian man falling over?
And as for those people who can’t cope if their team loses. Give me strength. If you get all teary-eyed just because someone from Latvia, playing in a town you’ve never been to, for an Arab you’ve never met, against some Italians you hate for no reason, has missed a penalty, how are you going to manage when you are diagnosed with cancer?
I have always hated football, but then one day, out of the blue, my son announced that he had become interested in Chelsea. This was a living nightmare. If he’d said that he’d become interested in smoking, I could have made all sorts of threats. If he’d said he’d become interested in homosexuality, we could have talked. But a football team? I had no answers. I didn’t even have any questions.
However, because he spent so much time watching football on television, I started pausing to watch. And I began to think that actually it’s a very beautiful game when it’s played properly. And that the offside rule, really, is no more complicated than the average power station. And then I started picking up bits of information from the commentators, which meant, for the first time ever, that when conversation with friends turned to football, I could join in, instead of sticking my fingers in my ears and singing sea shanties.
This meant that pretty soon people started asking if perhaps I’d like to go to a game. And that’s why last weekend I was at Stamford Bridge watching Chelsea demolish a team I used to call Manchester City. But that I now know is called Useless Money-Wasting Scum.
This was my first Premier League game and, ooh, it was good. When you’re there, rather than watching on television, you get an overall view, which means you can see how the game works. You notice that Frank Lampard is like a blackbird, always looking around to see where the hawks are. You see that Carvalho runs with his arms up, like a begging puppy, and you work out that Michael Essien always seems to be able to find a piece of the pitch that the Useless Scum either hadn’t noticed or were frightened of.
The other advantage of being there is that on television the microphones are positioned so you can’t hear the chants. I’d heard, of course, about this mass spontaneity over the years, usually when a team is playing Liverpool. “Sign on. Sign on. With a pen in your hand. Cos you’ll ne … ver get a job.” Or: “The wheels on your house go round and round. Round and round. Round and round.”
There are others too. Plymouth Argyll refer to any team they play as northern bastards. Then you have the Charlton fans who travelled down the M4 to Reading recently and, having failed to think of any suitable abuse, came up with: “What’s it like to live in Wales?”
The Chelsea fans topped all this last Sunday with a nonstop song, the lyrics of which were: “F*** off, Robinho. F*** off, Robinho. F*** off, Robinho.” I joined in wholeheartedly, even though I wasn’t entirely sure who Mr Robinho was and why I wanted him to eff off so much.
No matter. It was all so brilliantly working class. Or it would have been, had I not been seated in a private box just outside the no-jeans-allowed Armani Lounge, where I’d feasted on smoked salmon and quaffed bucks fizz before kickoff.
But I got a reminder of footballing’s outside-khazi and jumpers-for-goalposts roots when Chelsea scored. I turned and smiled a patronising smile at the man sitting behind me, the former Independent editor and all-round crap driver Simon Kelner. It turned out he was a big fan of the Scum and, honestly, I thought he was going to kick my head off.
I wouldn’t have blamed him. I used to be surprised that football fans fought one another. Now, though, having experienced the white heat of pride and tribalism first hand, I’m surprised they don’t any more.
After the game I was taken to the Chelsea dressing room so that I could admire all the players’ penises – many were very enormous indeed. I talked to Roman Abramovich, who was charming, and Lampard, who, having just run around for 90 minutes, still found the energy to get the entire team to sign my boy’s Chelsea shirt. I don’t do that for kids who come to the Top Gear studio and I’m supposed to be the public-school-educated toff.
So there we are, then. I am now a football fan. I know this because in one afternoon I learnt I’m not a football fan at all. I’m a fan of Chelsea. Chelsea are the only team that can play. Chelsea players have by far the most impressive reproductive organs. Stamford Bridge is my church. The men who play there are my Gods.
In short, I have a team, and that’s what’s always been missing. Because I was born in Doncaster.
This world cup will leave Brazil with some great stadiums, some brand new airports, a few new roads, and a dodgy football team
me watching every world cup match lately
best part of the game
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