This year Nouse have teamed up with a footballer, whose identity will be a closely guarded secret, to bring you a an exclusive insight into the world of the College Cup. Welcome to The Secret Footballer.
David Brent once said: “When people say to me: would you rather be thought of as a funny man or a great boss? My answer’s always the same, to me, they’re not mutually exclusive.” Maybe then it’s this blog will be an example of Brentian hubris. After all Norman Mailer could turn a good sentence but he never knocked out George Foreman.
Regardless I will be joining the ranks of sportsman turned commentators, even though both of those words are generous terms for what I do on either side of the journalistic fence. Some succeed. Michael Atherton is a superb writer, a man that should be considered as a someone who would have graced nationally printed pages regardless of his sporting prowess. John Barnes, on the other hand, looked as though he was being forced to read the Channel Five autocue at gun point when he used to present for them. The look on his face suggested that every time he spoke it would be to say: “I have realised now that my involvement with this imperialistic occupation is wrong. Death to the West!”
Whatever the success of this column it is the insight of footballer in a uniquely odd position. This time last year the thought that I would be looking forward to lining up at least on the bench (maybe that should read probably instead of at least) of a team that has a chance of winning the college cup would have been a mental idea.
I hadn’t played football since I was sixteen, when I had carved a niche for myself as one of the Top 250 left footed midfielders in the North Hearts area. I somehow got jaded, yes at the ripe old age of 16, and quit. Woman, wine and being a foot shorter than everyone else made enjoying my football difficult.
Now it’s all change. I can’t wait for the College Cup to start, even if the height differential is in some cases still prohibitive. It’s easy to be cynical about the allure of team sport – I was for a long period of time. Now I’m a fire an brimstone convert. You don’t have to be best mates with everyone you line up with to have at least some sense that you are part of something. College Football used to be an outlet to play the game that I loved. Now it’s tinged with more that healthy dash of partisanship.
I still wouldn’t start a bar fight over College loyalties or incite a fresher to “piss” on a geographically adjacent rival but I suppose I have a bit of spirit now. At least with regard to the team and the people that play in it. That if nothing else is what the College Cup offers. Attempts are often made to manufacture College spirit from JCRC’s and their members – as though you either commit wholly, virulently, ecstatically to the institution or don’t bother at all.
There are gaps in this feast or famine approach. I couldn’t care less whether our college club nights are empty or are so well thought of that the entire line up of G Unit turns up, including less well known but equally important members Lloyd Banks and Young Buck. When it comes to the football team, and winning and progressing in the College Cup – then I’m interested.