Last week sometime the question crossed my mind: Would I rather date a football fan who supported a rival team, or someone who had absolutely no interest in football at all?
As someone who has been single for a year-and-half (plays tiny violin) and has only every been in a serious relationship with a Gooner, neither of these options are scenarios I’ve had to deal with.
On the one hand, dating someone who supports a rival team sounds like the worst of the two options and is something that our very own Helen has to live with on a daily basis. You have to deal with some next team’s shirt knocking around your home; the hilarious #banter whenever your team loses; the arguments about who is better than who and what player should go where.
It seems like a recipe for disaster, which is precisely why, when I asked my good friend Dave on the day of writing this column, he picked option B. As a Liverpool fan, he was downright uncomfortable about the thought of dating someone who might favour the Red Devils, as, in his words, he knows how horrific some of the things he shouts at the TV when they play sound and he wouldn’t want to inflict that on someone he cared about.
A fair point.
In addition, something he also pointed is, if you were to in fact have children, what if you, as a Gooner, came home to find your toddler decked out in blue because your Chelsea-supporting partner had got in there first. I’m talking a dummy, full-kit, maybe with ‘Costa’ written on the back, you know, the lot. Just for bantz…
Of course, there’s also the inevitable bitterness, which comes with being a football supporter. It’s hard to imagine a weekend where at least one argument wouldn’t arise, which is why when I put the question to Twitter, a fair few thought it just wouldn’t be worth it.
Now, let’s turn the argument on its head and consider what it would be like to date someone who had absolutely no interest in football, or even hated it. You’d have to schedule time away from them to watch matches; you’d have to make sure you suppressed the unstoppable verbal diarrhea that threatens to bubble up after a result, good or bad.
They wouldn’t understand why you were borderline hysterical, crouching in front of the TV, all because Thomas Vermaelen put Arsenal 2-1 up against Newcastle with practically the final kick of the game…
They wouldn’t know why your matchday shirt just has to be ready the night before or why you have certain rituals you carry out before a game, like going to the same boozer, meeting up with mates you only see on a match day. Stopping at a certain cafe, listening to a certain song.
They wouldn’t understand why the hairs raise on your arms every time you hear the Champions League theme tune.
They’d flinch and maybe stifle a laugh as you screech, tears streaming down your face, and throw yourself off the sofa like a crazy person because Aaron-bloomin’-Ramsey has just put you 3-2 up against Hull at Wembley and you’re about to win your first piece of silverware in almost a decade.
The may even think you’re foolish for professing to love each and every man on that team you follow around week in, week out. You don’t know them after all, they’re just men running around a pitch kicking a ball.
It’s just a game.
And this is why I would have to pick the first option.
Although I can understand many would want a peaceful life with a partner who didn’t care about the latest Arsenal result, it’s slightly different for me.
As someone who writes about football on a daily basis, as a job, it’s impossible to get away from it and I wouldn’t want to. Even when I’m not ‘working’, I’m keeping an eye on other results, reading the latest football news and engaging with people on Twitter.
Football is my life.
If I was to date someone who wasn’t even open to the idea of becoming interested in football, what sort of relationship would we have? They wouldn’t want to hear about my work, my interests, my hobbies. Arsenal is such a huge part of my life, it’s hard to imagine having to censor myself in front of a significant other about something I love so much.
Something I’ve also noticed is that if you’re going to argue, you’re going to argue. If the communication is there, bickering over the football result shouldn’t erupt into something huge (bar maybe when your teams face each other, that is).
I was in a relationship with an Arsenal fan for six years and I can promise you, we argued just as much about football as I would with someone who supported a rival team. I’m very much pro-Wenger, he wasn’t. I would always try to see the positive in any performance, he wouldn’t. And therein lies the issue: if you like someone enough and they take an interest in your life – great. If they share your passion for football on top of this? Even better.