How to be a football fan: Lesson one
With the World Cup just around the corner, I invite you to save yourself the embarrassment of football-based twattery in public places, and urge you to sneak onto the bandwagon nice and early with this easy lesson.
Being a football fan is a life-long commitment. The supporter will find himself - or, indeed, herself - investing significant quantities of time and money into what those who do don’t follow the Beautiful Game call "twenty-two men kicking a ball about - why don't they just give them a ball each?" What little they know.
You may, however, as a non-football fan, find yourself in a public house or similar establishment at some stage in the next month, drawn in by the public fervour of the World Cup, or simply because your local has been invaded by desperate football fans, kicked out of the house by their Corrie-addicted wives (or, to give them their correct name, "traitors"). While doing the patriotic thing as part of this national bonding exercise, you do not want to expose yourself as new to the sport, or worse still, like so many of those wearing brand new Chelsea shirts, a bandwagon jumper.
So, ever the helpful blogger, here are a few things you might find it wise not to say during the World Cup:
* Why don't they just give them a ball each?
* Are they playing nine holes or eighteen?
* Oh, the referee's so biased
* Which one's Gazza?
* "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, coming forth to carry me home"
* You mean Sven Goran Erikkson's not English?
* So, why aren't Chelsea in this?
* Good kick! How many points do you get for a goal?
* What if a player needs to do a poo?
* Come on Freddie Flintoff! / That Jonny Wilkinson's got a smashing arse
Plz to add more.
Even if you keep your mouth shut, however, you will almost certainly find yourself betrayed by your body language. This is because football supporters, like freemasons, have a secret hand signal that only fellow fans can understand. Non-acolytes will find themselves flapping about like a nun at the World Masturbation Championships, exposed, for all to see, as an outsider.
So, risking the wrath of my fellow troglodytes, here is a brief lesson on how to go "You're shit AAAAAGH!" like a true pro. Given literally minutes of practice, you too will be abusing easily-confused opposition strikers like you've been doing it all your life.
Watch and learn: The correct way. Note stiff wrist, pivoting around just one axis, with a good loud "Aaaaaagh!" The supremely skilled may wish to add the words "you tosser" as a closing statement.
The incorrect way. Note confused manner, wrist all over the place and lack of quality "Aaaaagh-age". Probably thinks Queens Park Rangers are the Her Majesty's gardeners.
Tomorrow: the offside law in twenty-seven easy-to-understand lessons, by Offside Master Lobsang Beckenbauer.