I’ve become a football fan by default really! When I met my husband he played in the Portsmouth Saturday and Sunday Leagues and I used to go and watch. Standing on the touchline on a freezing cold Sunday morning in January is no fun, as I am sure many of you can appreciate! But, love is blind and I wanted to support him! I had a vague understanding of the rules and could follow the discussions in the pub after the game. He watched football on the TV, especially Manchester United! I was told that Bryan Robson was ‘God’ and Denis Irwin was ‘the best full-back to have walked this earth’!! We made some good friends through my husband playing football; he’s the Godfather to a friend’s son and we’ve travelled to Spain for a team member’s wedding!
His playing days are certainly over, rapidly approaching 50 and 2 knees that sometimes bend the wrong way like a flamingo, due to him insisting on playing whilst injured and subsequent operations! So, three seasons ago, I bought him a season ticket for Fratton Park. Being born and bred in Portsmouth, he had obviously followed Pompey and been to the occasional game, but had never had a season ticket before. Because I work for the football club, my interest in the team and football in general has increased and I decided that I would go to a Pompey home match and see what it was like!
The atmosphere at Fratton Park is amazing! I like the way the fans in the Fratton End can come up with a song or chant about any situation or player at a moments notice. The lyrics are sometimes very clever and quite often rude! I meet so many people that I know on a match day, from friends that I’ve known for over 30 years to acquaintances that I sit with in the stands and share my sweets with.
I love going to Fratton Park, especially for a Tuesday night fixture. We meet friends in the pub for steak and chips before the game and reminisce about the old days when they used to play football themselves. The stories get more embellished every time!
So, I have come to love the beautiful game; not just to appreciate the skill with which the players move the ball around the park, the high when your team wins and the disappointment when they lose, but for the relationships, friendship and camaraderie that being involved in football has brought me, both in my younger days and now.