Everything you’ll understand if you’re a bloke who doesn’t like football
What is an accumulator and how do I get my hands on one?
Masculinity has come a long way in the past few years. Nowadays you can still get by as a bloke if you’re partial to an Espresso Martini, or if you like to wind down on a Sunday evening by putting your feet up and watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix.
There is one thing, however, which hasn’t changed: the modern British man will still get a sideways look if he admits that he doesn’t support a football team.
These are all the things you’ll understand if you’re the one in your group who just doesn’t get football.
Pub trips are ruined by unexpected games
Sure, you love a lads’ trip down the pub – so when Ben drops it in the WhatsApp group that a few of you are going down the White Horse for a couple of Tuesday night beers you can’t leave your desk fast enough. Then you turn up and there’s a game on, and everything’s fucking ruined.
Your mates will spend the next 90 minutes craning their necks at a screen above the bar, save for a 10 minute interlude in which they’ll talk about what’s been happening on said screen. You have no idea – you’ve been given the seat underneath the TV because you “don’t need to see it”, so you’ve been forced to spend the whole thing sipping your warm Fosters and staring into the middle distance.
You’re too embarrassed to admit you still don’t get the offside rule
The fact that “not knowing the offside rule” is the most well-observed cliché of football ignorance means you’ve spent your entire life too terrified to ask anyone what it means. Instead, you’ve only managed to glean from one conversation with your dad and a half-observed game of FIFA that it’s something that happens when someone goes a bit too near the goal.
You keep a ‘team’ on the backburner in case someone asks you
Yeah, I’m a Luton Town fan. Why? Oh, you know, I grew up near there and everything – you couldn’t pay me to support anyone else. Favourite player? Obviously Ahmet Brkovic, the Croatian Sensation.
What? He left Luton in 2007? Yeah I know, I thought you meant favourite of all time.
Conversations with other people’s dads are always really awkward
Meeting your girlfriend’s parents is a terrifying ordeal at the best of times, but there’s nothing scarier for the non-sportsman than meeting someone of the older generation. You know, the one where the go-to conversation is about the footie.
After deciding that pretending to know your stuff could go disastrously, you’ll tell him that you’re just not into sport. The conversation will dry up, and he’ll spend the rest of lunch staring at you as if you’d just walked into his living room and kicked the beloved family dog to death.
You get inducted into Fantasy Football leagues out of pity
Charlie and Harry just happened to be talking about their choices when you walked into the kitchen, so now they feel like they have to invite you in. They don’t want to admit that your presence will make them feel uncomfortable, and you don’t want to admit that you’d rather roll five pound coins into a drain than hand them over and have to spend the next few months pretending to know what a 4-4-2 formation is on the internet.
For the duration of the season you’ll fester at the bottom of the league, sticking out like a sore thumb because everyone else thought of a clever pun name and the best you could come up with was “Michael O-Win”.
You have no idea what an accumulator is
Liam is absolutely buzzing because he just won £42 on his “acca”, and he’s going to treat all the boys to a round of shots. You oblige, even though you have no idea what an acca is, or what it has to do with Ray Winstone’s giant floating head and an octopus playing ping pong.
If you live with guys, Saturdays are invariably shit
Saturday is meant to be your day of rest, so all you want to do is put on Saturday Kitchen and watch Alexandra Burke cook crispy calamari. Fat chance though: Aston Villa are playing Norwich so James and all the boys are going to need the TV, all the sofas, most of the beers you bought last night and your PS4 controllers to play FIFA with at half time.
You might be allowed to catch up on War and Peace later as long as Sunderland v West Brom doesn’t go into extra time, but until then you better go back to your room and keep yourself busy.
You expect Sundays not to be shit, but they’re shit too
At least today I can… Oh, Stoke v Swansea, you say? I understand.
Only half of the newspaper is intelligible
You like to think of yourself as a cultured soul, but your once-in-a-while flick through the nationals will always end around about page 36. You’ll happily read the Money pages about CEOs of brokerage firms you’ve never heard of, and you’ll even peruse the TV listings to see what’s showing on Sky Movies Disney in the early hours of tomorrow morning – but the Sport section may as well be written in hieroglyphics for how little it makes sense to you.
You constantly get rinsed for getting the terminology wrong
Life isn’t fair. Tom has never forgotten when you complained about a game going into “overtime”, and Alex’s mates had a right laugh when you asked what the line manager actually used his flag for – but when you laid into them for not knowing what pathetic fallacy was in the squad chat, it didn’t go down nearly as well.
When you’re made to play, they always put you in goal
These people go outside, by choice, in the cold, by choice, and kick a ball at each other for over an hour. By choice. You spent the whole of school trying to skip PE lessons for this exact reason, and yet grown adult men are doing it by choice – and now they want you to join in.
Despite your protests, they’ll settle on putting you in goal where you “won’t do any harm”. You’ll concede 12, and at least two of them will be from the halfway line.
People will tear you to pieces if you tell them it’s ‘just a game’
Your brother will spit on the floor every time he hears the letters “QPR” and wouldn’t think twice about punching another human being in the face for being from the wrong part of West London, yet you’re the one who gets treated like Donald fucking Trump for suggesting that it’s just a game.
Which it is.