While the seeds of our relationship were sown circa 2000, it wasn’t until 2012 when it would blossom. Now, it has been roughly 16 years at the terraces (excluding 2005-2011) and in our teenage years after the angst spell of “I HATE FOOTBALL! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!” we are once again happily interlinked in our “growing old together” phase.
How do you stay together after so long? How do you still love each other after all this time? Any hints? How do you know if it’s the right one for you?
Well, how can you love your partner? You can’t shout at them all day and expect to be loved. You can go to them once a week and not cast them a thought every other day, and take the 90 minutes of passion for granted. You’re not allowed call them after a five-hour bus trip to a random County to tell them that they don’t know what they’re doing. You certainly can’t visit your rivals. Please, love your football club. Love your partner.
Nothing will reignite your passions like visiting other clubs, and realising how good you have it back home. I have seen many wonders of this island, from my visitations to Mountjoy Prison, to Kildare’s Number One Attraction – Junction 14 – and the chippers of Sligo. I Supermac’s and Curry Chips-ed my way from place to place and still have a rather healthy BMI. Though you’re freezing in Bray or your mother is ringing you in Tallaght to put your jacket on because “YOU’LL CATCH YOUR DEATH… ON TELLY!” or even getting looks in Dublin as you wander past the prison in a Cork top; your passion burns.
Home is where you make your voice felt. To sit in the same seat, the same terrace, day in day out is pride and place. You almost become furniture. At home, you savour moments. Greeting the Northern Irish fans with, “You’re only here for the passports” a week after Brexit was nice. Chanting “Are you Mr. Blobby” at a middle-aged goalkeeper from Athlone who had his shorts on backwards wasn’t nice.
Wear your colours with pride. I am the wanker who wears a League of Ireland top to a bourgeoisie friendly university. I can’t name half the Munster team or talk about my old school fees; but I can tell you where I was that night in ’05. I am a person fighting his insecurities each day. For 90 minutes on a Friday I am with people who like me. We all want the same goals. It makes every down day and sleepless night worth it.