Sunday, January 03, 2010

Soccer One, Ironing Nil

Right, here's something that I have learned today and it is this. You can't watch football and iron clothes at the same time.

I knew it was a key match - Leeds United versus Manchester United in the FA Cup. Now, there's no real history of soccer-watching in our house - - my mother was brought up on Rugby because that's what they played in Barrow-in-Furness, where she lived. The Communist wasn't really interested in sport - his game was politics. I like watching tennis - - gymnastics - - running - - swimming - - but at school I was never any good at team sports and I've never got into watching them either.

But I thought I'd watch this, and do some ironing at the same time. Leeds have had some good results recently and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.

Now, personally, I'd find it hard enough to run from one end of a soccer pitch to the other taking a football with me using only my feet, and to kick it past the goalkeeper into the net at the other end. But - worse - they have another team whose job is to stop you doing it, and to do the same thing but the other way round.

That's all I know, really. But for this match, I didn't need to know much else.

Leeds, of course, were expected to lose and Manchester United to win.

But Leeds have, as I mentioned, had some good results recently and looked both confident and determined. And then, after nearly twenty minutes, Jermaine Beckford of Leeds United kicked the ball towards the goal and a weird thing happened, which I noticed again in the last few minutes of the match. Time slowed down. The ball glided gently towards the goal and there was nothing at all to stop it going in. But, I swear to you, it took about half an hour to get there.

So, one nil to Leeds. The Leeds fans were very pleased but the commentators said knowingly that this wouldn't be the end of it, oh no, there'd be plenty more goals to come.

I'd never really taken on board how exciting and scary it would be. Every time a Manchester player got his feet anywhere near the ball my heart lurched. And I'm not a footy fan, just a Leeds Woman of a Certain Age, trying to get the ironing done.

Except I couldn't. Because I knew if I took my eyes off the screen Wayne Rooney would get the ball and I felt it was my task to stop him by keeping a fierce eye on it.

I enjoy watching out for body language and indeed use it a lot in my work. And oh boy, there was plenty here! I loved it! One shrug that quite clearly meant "Did you see THAT? Did the referee NOT see that? Oh, the injustice!"

Then it was the interval. Oh, sorry, half-time I think they call it. I'm used to watching plays, you see, not football.

And then suddenly it was two-thirds over, and there hadn't been any other goals. The commentator pointed out, truthfully, that the attitude of the Leeds fans had now subtly changed. They had gone from "Hurrah! We scored a goal!" to "Goodness me! We might win this!" (They probably didn't word it quite in that way, but I think you get the gist).

Manchester's boss Alex Ferguson asked how much extra time there'd be and I could tell from his expression that he was hoping for a couple of hours, or until Manchester United won, whichever of these happened more quickly.

Five minutes was what there was. But only the first three of them lasted a minute. The final two minutes lasted about twenty minutes each. Manchester United nearly scored and I found myself shouting at the screen.

And, finally, the whistle went and I'm sorry if you didn't want to know this but it was one-nil to Leeds. OH yes!

Now then, I'm a quiet, respectable (stop it now) middle-aged woman watching from the comfort of my living room and I was really getting very worked up about it. No wonder that testosterone-fuelled twenty-year-old blokes go and create mayhem when their team loses!

I can only compare it to what I know. And therefore, it was like this. Imagine that you loved Shakespeare, and had never seen Hamlet, and then suddenly saw a brilliant production of it, without knowing the ending in advance.

Yes, I loved it. But I am never, ever going to be a soccer referee when I grow up.


Blogger Debby said...

Well, as you compared it to my all time favorite guy in history, I'd have much rather been at a Shakespeare play. But, there's always a but you know, I loved the match. I had one hand to my mouth and the other to my heart. I could barely breathe until it was over. It was exciting.

I did, however, learn that you shouldn't congratulate an avid LUFC supporter by saying 'Oh wasn't that nice? Your little team won!'

4:26 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

I just donno where to start with this insightful review of the game ! Or of doing the ironing.

Just as well Man Utd play at a stadium called "The Theatre Of Dreams" if you're going to compare footy to a play wot Shakespeare wrote.

And if you plan on posting further game reviews, you must follow the editorial rules and put in a few "over the moon" and "the ref was a disgrace" phrases to make it authentic.

Promising start though.....2.5/10.

P.S. The word verification word is......SWEAR. Bloody typical !

4:30 pm  
Anonymous ruth said...

Okay so you've done a match on TV, now you need to get yourself to Elland Road for a home match. Then you can delight in the real wonder which is how on earth can a player so accurately pinpoint a pass on a scrap of turf the size of, well, the size of a football pitch?

Like plays and films, it's good to watch it live in the company of others who are swept up in the thrill of the theatre. I'm not even a footy fan but love the atmosphere, heart stopping moments, joy etc and there can be fewer more thrilling places to be than ER (when it's a good match).

PS word verification of PRIMP is less apt than Silverback's

4:48 pm  
Blogger Tempewytch said...

Sounds like you had a good time *grin* does this mean you have overnight (or over 90 minutes at any rate) turned into a die-hard Leeds fan?

4:50 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Ha! That's such an original take on watching a football match. As Bruce Forsyth might have said -"Didn't they do well?"
Next birthday or Christmas you'll have to ask Stephen for a Leeds United replica shirt with "Daphne" on the back. Then you'll blend in with the locals when you visit Harvey Nick's...

4:52 pm  
Blogger Dumdad said...

What a brilliant result! I don't have English TV so tracked the match online. I love Beckford - he made this once dweller of Leeds a happy boy. Now, time to concentrate on getting promoted!

5:49 pm  
Blogger Dumdad said...

P.S. I did some ironing after the match and was quite happy in my chore.

5:50 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Debby - ah, but if you'd said "Oh, what a shame. Your little team lost" to a Man United fan I think there would have been MORE trouble!
Silverback - do I detect just a tinge of irony in your use of the word "insightful"? Surely not!! I'm sick as a parrot.
Ruth - yes, I do appreciate the skill involved - actually I've never thought top-class footballers to be overpaid - when people say that I always think "Well, lets' see you do it then, to the same standard!"
Tempewytch - What, me? Diehard Leeds fan? COME ON YOU WHITES!
YP - what is this Harvey Nick's of which you speak? You can take a girl out of Matalan - - !
Dumdad - yes, hurrah for Mr Beckford! I did some ironing after the match too.

7:11 pm  
Anonymous Mancais said...

Loved your review of the match!
Fergie complaining again that not enough time was added on and watching the whole rag bench put theirr heads in their hands when Owen missed was brill!
Get yourself to a match to watch it live.

@Silvberback - rags ground is usually referred to as The Swamp. God's own team play in sky blue. In Manchester.

9:17 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Seeing as how I know two people from Leeds (your lovely self and old Silverback himself) and only one from Manchester (local person, not a blogger, lives a hop, skip, and a jump from here), I hereby declare myself a Leeds fan, unless they happen to play Sheffield (hello, Lord Pudding), in which case I declare myself a neutral bystander, like Switzerland.

9:21 pm  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

welcome to the tense world of football watching. Pleased Leeds won even though I live Bradford

8:01 pm  
Blogger Beth said...

Very impressed with how quickley you worked out the importance of concentrating realy hard while watching football. You can be sure if you HAD taken your eye off the ball (metaphorically and literally)they would've scored and, yes, it would've been ALL YOUR FAULT!

2:57 pm  

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