I'm not completely ignorant about football. My friends talk about it, my extended family rib each other about it over dinner, I overhear conversations when I'm out and about. Sometimes at work I need to say football names and words, but it never really sinks in.
That's partly because no passion for football was sparked in me as a child, and none has developed since. It's also because I've always had an aversion to taking sides in an argument. I'm one for compromise, negotiation, and seeing things from different points of view.
And my goodness, is football partisan.
At primary school, boys in my class would come to verbal and physical blows over it. It left me perplexed, that level of identification. "We" didn't thrash you at the weekend, Arsenal did. You had nothing to do with it as far as I can tell. You aren't Arsenal, or Man City, or whoever.
Now that I'm older I can recognize the thought process behind identifying yourself with a larger group. And so it makes sense to me that fans should feel such a way, even if I don't feel it... yet.
But you can imagine my trepidation. I like being liked, and I'm about to instantly (and in my view undeservedly) earn the visceral of hatred of lots and lots of people from around the world. I suppose I'll also earn the camaraderie of my fellow supporters, but there are going to be a lot more of the former than the latter. And of course, it's all rather artificial choosing now. Will I be viewed as a Johnny-come-lately?
In my first entry, which can be summarised as, "as we can't talk about football, we might have to kiss", I explained it would need to be a London club.
So if you'll allow me to indulge in some stereotyping, there are a few teams I can rule out straight away. I'm not moneyed enough for Chelsea, or hard enough for Millwall. I don't even know the stereotypes about Fulham or QPR. So that leaves Arsenal or Spurs. My mole in the football commentariat Darren Richman described them respectively as the team that's been bad for longer than it's been good, and the perpetual bridesmaids of English football. Arsenal are a number of years without a trophy, and Spurs apparently have a glorious failure thing going on.
My London friends and wider family seem pretty much equally divided between the two clubs. Off the top of my head, the only facts I know about them are their home grounds, and the name of the Arsenal manager (because it sounds like Arsenal). As a Londoner, I'm dimly aware of the team colours. While I am emphatically not committing myself to adding football scarves or shirts to my wardrobe, I think I can make either the red/white or the black/white thing work for me.
So. Time to choose.
My dog has just wandered over in search of affection. She's black and white.
You can start abusing me in the comments section below.Suggest a correction