My Favourite Game :
As a young boy, I grew up living in the shadow of my local football club, Blackpool FC. However, it may well have been hundreds of miles away for all the difference it made to the number of times I went there back then. A father who followed a different sport meant that I had no way into that almost mythical place to watch my favourite game. All I had were the cheers and groans of the thousands of men that could get in, and until the classified football results were announced on World of Sport (after the wrestling that I watched with my dad), there was an imaginary scoreline. A dream.

With the prospect of visiting Bloomfield Road a remote one, the big clubs beckoned from the then first division and my attentions shifted to North London, actually hundreds of miles away, and Arsenal’s occasional appearance in the televised game shown on a Sunday afternoon. Still, the Saturday cheers could be heard when Blackpool played at home, and the faces of the supporters seen on their way from the game. Football should be inclusive, almost tribal, in the way it brings communities together, but this was not really the case for me. Even when playing football, a reasonable level of skill as a goalkeeper meant that I stood alone, watching 20 other boys chasing the ball around a muddy field.

30 years later, I’m free to go to whichever matches I want, either at Bloomfield Road or Drayton Park. However, I now also have a strange fascination for small football pitches, the type of place I stood between the goalposts watching my own game from. Where there’s space to imagine the tumultuous cheers ringing around the ground, and even if the ground in question is nothing more than a local park with jumpers for goalposts, it’s still a small theatre for the beautiful game; it’s still a place to dream.

Rob™, 2013

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