As a female football fan, there’s only one thing that bothers me when I tell people I like football. Immediately I am put to the test. Usually I’m told to name the squad of the team I support, almost as if I couldn’t possibly actually like football, but that I’m simply saying I do for attention. It’s obviously nothing to do with the thrills of the game, the highs felt at every win. No, it’s because I want attention from boys. Some go so far as to try and catch you out, such as talking about a player that doesn’t exist. They wait for you to say, ‘oh yeah, he’s my favourite’, but they soon shut up when you tell them they’re wrong. If a boy states they like football, it isn’t even questioned. They aren’t placed on a hot seat with a quick fire round about club history and legends; it is simply accepted.
I find something magical about the game. If only the atmosphere contained within the four stadium walls could be bottled and sold, the world would make for a much better place. Because within those stadiums, or even beside broken advertising boards on a shoddy pitch trampled on by excited six year olds, people stand with pride, with excitement, and with passion for their team. They scream and jump in elation when they’re winning, and their mood dramatically goes downhill with every dodgy pass, every miss-tackle, and every conceded goal. No amount of words can explain a fans love of the game. If you love football, you simply just know.
In some ways, I wish I didn’t love it so much. I wish my heart didn’t break when a player I like gets sold or injured, and I wish I didn’t take every loss so personally. My mood goes from normal to shitty very quickly if the scores don’t go my way, and the frustration of a losing streak can be overwhelming. But with every low there are unbeatable highs. It’s like an addiction, I guess. As football fans, we’re constantly chasing a high that feels as good as the first. Thousands of people, standing tall, singing the songs of their team, that’s pride. That’s love. That’s football. And who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?