Why I will always have a love affair with football

I’m not going to sit here and tell you why football is so much better than cricket, rugby, tennis or any other sport, that would be wrong. I am going to tell you why I love football.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you why football is so much better than cricket, rugby, tennis or any other sport, that would be wrong. I am going to tell you why I love football. I have grown up watching football almost my entire life, I don’t know any different, and for me it is quite simply the best sport in the world. But that is just my opinion and I am sure many of you would disagree.

It is moments like Maradona’s goal against England in the 86’ World Cup Quarter Finals that make me love football. The way Maradona simply crafted his way through the England side from just inside his own half was pure poetry in motion. The effortless way in which he glides past the helpless England defenders exemplified the skill of the great man, and showcased the magic moments football provides us with. Even his infamous ‘hand of god’ goal in the same game demonstrates the drama football creates. The fine skill of Maradona, the drama in which the game was won and the heartache for the England players and faithful, all in one game, what more could you want? 

The pace, the electricity, the excitement, the unpredictability – there is so much about football that draws the attention of millions across the world. You never quite know what you are going to get with a football match, you may think you can predict it, but try putting a weekend accumulator on and see how many times you win! This is what keeps us all on the edges of our seats and keeps the fans walking through the turnstiles week after week, year after year. There have been some truly staggering matches and incidents that have graced this sport over the years, many that nobody could have seen coming; Liverpool winning in Istanbul in 2005, Jimmy Glass (ex Carlisle United goalkeeper) scoring a last minute goal on the last day of the season to keep them in the football league. The nature of unpredictability that surrounds football is what makes it one of the most entertaining sports in the world, you may not agree with the wages and playboy lifestyle many at the top seem to lead, but in terms of entertainment value and excitement, there is very little you can argue against. 

There is nothing like watching a crunching tackle come flying in, watching a sublime piece of skill or seeing the football nestle in the back of the net. There are so many different parallels that football can offer, so many different aspects to the game on offer to us all. Put these all together and you conjure up a recipe for some of the most inspiring and iconic moments in sport; the Cruyff turn, Roberto Carlos’ free kick in the 98’ World Cup Final, a trademark Graeme Souness tackle, the list really could go on. Each fan will have their own piece of history with football, created by moments like these; a vivid memory of my own is watching Leeds United win at Elland Road 4-3, with Mark Viduka scoring all four of the goals. 

Again, I can distinctly remember the courageous defending of Jamie Carragher in the famous Istanbul final, and also carrying on playing through cramp. Moments like these inspire many of us to take courage and perseverance that was demonstrated in these instances into our own lives and be the best that we can be. I often believe that footballers’ don’t comprehend how inspiring they are to people and how much of a role model they really are, as I am sure many of you would also agree.

Football always provides us with talking points, whether it be in the pub with our friends, at work or with the pundits and journalists in the media. It creates discussions and arguments amongst fans, allowing them to display their passion and love for the game, giving them an outlet outside their everyday lives, allowing us to escape reality for 90 minutes and forget about everything else that is going on in our lives. The hype that surrounds football makes it what it is, the discussions that we have, the newspaper articles, the after match punditry on Sky Sports all elevate the sport to the dizzy heights that it has reached today. 

Football is a funny old game. We know that no matter how badly our team or country perform, we will be there next time supporting them and getting behind them, no matter how much we slate the performance; we never lose our faith in the beautiful game. We experience the highs and lows with each other, we experience the majestic moments together, we experience the heartbreak together, but, one thing will never change, and that is our undying love for the game. 

I love football because there are so many others that love the game just like I do and I have no idea what the future holds for the sport, but I cant wait to see what it provides us with.