I forget there was a time in my life when, if I knew you, I knew which team you supported. Or, more rarely, if you didn’t like football. But most people I knew had a team, even if they weren’t regularly watching – a family team, a local team, a team borne of circumstance.
At school it was mostly the local ones: Villa and Blues and West Brom. Though I knew someone who supported Bolton because they were the first team he completed in his sticker book. I still remember lots of people by their team, even if most other details have faded.
I especially remember the people who supported my family team; embattled first-division mainstays from my Dad’s hometown. Their fans were few and far between amongst my peers, but there was Andrew from primary school and Simon from orchestra and Steve from my pub job.
Then I went to art college in London and football felt less vital – but it was still there. Daniel was a Chelsea fan and Steph went for Spurs and Tom and Campbell were Liverpool. Dan supported West Ham and insisted on talking to cabbies about it. Of course there were lots of Man United fans, but my low-stakes allegiance was one of my quirks. I overplayed it because boys thought it was cute, but perhaps I’ve grown out of that now.
Recently, our family team – since promoted but still underdogs – beat a couple of big premier league clubs. And last night at the bar I said to a bartender I know Cam, did you see that Wolves destroyed Arsenal? and he said Keziah, did you see that Wolves destroyed everyone?
I’ve been thinking about the people I’ve known who would have been upset with these results and all the people who would have been delighted. And I suppose I’ve been wondering if they thought about me. About that girl they used to know who was a Wolves fan.
I don’t follow it too closely anymore but news of big wins or big losses still reaches me, and each one sparks up tiny pockets of memory, like a lighthouse in my mind. Sometimes big memories, sometimes small. Sometimes the warm, welcome glow of someone I cherish, sometimes the unexpected glare of someone I thought had long-since moved out.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 12th May 2019 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.