Sunday, 13 January 2013

A carb-loving girl's guide to football

Despite having a boyfriend who could quite happily spend all day every day watching pretty much any sport, I just don't get it. If we lived in a world where cake eating or pie making contests were an Olympic sport,  you wouldn't have been able to tear me away from the TV this summer for either love nor money. In the same way, if football pundits spent more time talking about what Wayne Rooney had eaten for breakfast, or where he was going for dinner that night, I'd probably take more of an interest.

I just find watching sport a bit - well - boring. Put it this way, I firmly believe that if F1 drivers were less concerned with continually driving round in a circle as fast as they can and more concerned with how to make the perfect puff pastry, they'd be a lot more productive and the world would be a better (if not slightly fatter) place.

However, 2013 is a year of trying new things - and by new things, I don't just mean foodstuffs or seeing what my blowtorch is capable of doing. 

Ash really likes the thought of living in a village or small town somewhere that has a decent enough local football team that he can go and support every week, come rain or shine. I kind of understand that - at the moment we live in the centre of a big and bustling city that can feel a bit overwhelming and community-less sometimes. I suppose if he really wanted to, Ash could make his merry way over to Elland Road every week and adopt Leeds United, but from what I've heard, I'm not sure if he drinks enough lager and has enough tattoos to do that . Bradford City supporters, on the other hand, seem a bit - well - friendlier (based purely on my lovely colleagues Michael and Nick). And the tickets are cheaper.

And so, it was for that reason that when we were watching (well, I say we, I was probably thinking about puff pastry at the time) Bradford City beat Aston Villa 3-1 on the tellybox the other day, we pondered getting some tickets to our sister city's stadium. When I heard that there would probably be pie and possibly curry, I became an extremely supportive partner and agreed that we should purchase straight away.

So, what did I learn from our trip to watch Bradford City lose 2-1 to Oxford United this weekend?

1. Football in January is cold. Really, really cold

Before we ventured over to Bradford, I was under no illusions that being a football spectator was going to be a comfortable pursuit. I knew that it would probably involve sitting on an excruciatingly  painful plastic chair for 90 minutes, and I've lived in the North for long enough to know that January isn't exactly a warm month. However, I did still expect to have full feeling of my legs come ten to five yesterday afternoon. How wrong I was. After experiencing a Bradford City football match in January, I'm pretty sure I know how Ranulph Fiennes feels when he's trekking across the Antarctic. Believe me, it's not fun, and even a cup of half-time hot chocolate did little to warm me up. Which leads me nicely on to point #2...

Pretty sure that this guy was the warmest person there

2. Football equals food

Being cold and shivering tons burns loads of calories, right? Well, that's the excuse I used for carb overload. And believe you me, going to a Bradford City football match is a carb lover's DREAM. There's pie, there's chips, there's pasties, there's hot-dogs, there's sausage rolls, there's mushy peas and there's gravy. You want carbs? You've got carbs. I was pretty much in heaven, especially when I spotted that Bradford City sell Chicken Balti Pies. Whoever thought those up should be knighted for services to food. Seriously, curry and pie together? That's the stuff that really amazing I-have-no-intention-of-ever-wanting-to-wake-up dreams (and probably heart attacks) are made of. Unfortunately by the time I'd spotted these, I'd just consumed 1,200 calories worth of fish and chips and so I couldn't bring myself to try one, even under the guise of scientific research. 

3. Football broadens vocabularies

I like to think that I have a pretty good knowledge of the English language. I really like words, and I even won a prize at secondary school for literary prowess. However, yesterday my vocabulary was well and truly widened. I learnt phrases and profanities from the crowd that I never would have thought up, not even in my wildest dreams. Seriously, if you have kids and you want them to broaden their vocabulary, forget giving them a dictionary to read. Just send them to a Bradford City match. I should probably add that despite now calling the North my home, being a born and bought up Essex lass means that nothing will ever be quite as funny as hearing a supporter shout at a player to "get up you soft twat" in the broadest Yorkshire accent you ever did hear. The word shite didn't get old after 90 minutes either.  

4. Football chanting is FUN!

There's one thing that Bradford City fans definitely don't seem to lack (apart from a wide vocabulary and food genius), and that's passion and a love of chanting even when the chips are down. I love a good sing song and I like to think that I was joining in with the best of them yesterday, despite not knowing all of the words (much to Ash's disdain). Before I venture to another Bradford match, I'm going to get Nick and Michael to teach me all of the chants so I can be completely word perfect. Oh yes.

5. Football isn't actually that bad

Ok, so I might have been a bit quick to judge watching football and (I guess) sport full stop. Despite the bitter cold, I actually ended up having a really good time yesterday. There were fans at the match who were from all sorts of different backgrounds and were a variety of different ages. People had ventured out in the bitter cold, armed with a Thermos flask, to support their local team and spend some quality time with their family and friends. They were passionate, friendly, un-threatening, honest and proud of their city. I can't find much to fault in that. 

So, will we be going back to watch Bradford again?  Maybe not when the thermometer is reading below 15 degrees. But will I be going back to try a curry pie and to widen my vocabulary even further? You bet'cha.


  1. Great read ......from a Bradford City FC fan!!!!

  2. Really enjoyed reading this! No better way to endear yourself to City fans by saying you snubbed going to L**ds United in favour of going to Bradford :) Hope you keep going and continue to enjoy it!

  3. Thanks a lot for all the lovely comments! You Bradford fans are a really welcoming lot :)

  4. Just remember to ask them to check whether the Balti pies are properly hot before handing over your readies - not much worse than a cold balti pie.

    I'm from Essex too (Grays) but I've been up here 32 years - hence my Claret & Banter forum name, Offcomedun. I still get asked if I'm just visiting. You can take the boy out of Essex...