Thursday, October 9, 2008


Finally, we honor our promises at UF and slap up the guest post from the most recent caption competition winner, whose wit has earned him the key to UF Towers.

Take it away, "Private", you mysterious devil you. The floor is yours.

Having never written for a blog before, I fear I've created something rambling, at times a bit off point, and most certainly self-serving. It will include futbol, football, and basketball references, and for that, my apologies.

There was no definitive event or news to point to as inspiration, other than a brief conversation with a friend as to the merits of the Cowboys having TO on their team. It was through that lens that I started to think about the psyche of the current fan as it relates to childhood allegiances and rivals, and the disruptive world of transfers.

After the debacle at the Emirates on Saturday, I'm thankful I grew up in the US and had the opportunity for some redemption as a sports fan on Sunday. To beat the Cowboys and set off the inevitable TO implosion and firing of Wade Phillips certainly made the weekend more palatable. And this got me thinking - how important is hating your rivals in the overall construct of supporting your team?

To illustrate, let's look at Ashley Cole and Chelsea. I can't tell you if hell exists, but I can tell you that if it does the ninth circle is somewhere beneath Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford.

Before splurging on my own TV for the 2002 World Cup, I used to go down to Lucky Bar in DC to watch games most every weekend. There was literally ONE Chelsea fan there and he always polite, well mannered, and just there to enjoy his team in anonymity. I often went with one of my college friends (a Liverpool fan) and we befriended him because we really couldn't care less about the Blues. There was little risk in inviting him to sit at our table.

It's amazing what six years and 500 million pounds will do.

I hate the team, their fans, their shithole of a stadium and most everything else about them. Now when you go to Lucky Bar for a Chelsea match, there are dozens upon dozens of complete d-bags that claim to be supporters. If one of them tried to sit at my table now, the chance of me stabbing him with a fork is significantly greater than zero.

So what about Ashley Cole? While the best left-back in the world at Arsenal, he was never truly an Arsenal player. Putting aside his talent, he's a complete tosser that was always more concerned with himself than the club and it was good to see him go. And it makes it somehow more enjoyable that he went to fucking Chelsea.

If Cole had fucked off to Spain or Italy, I probably would never have thought twice about him. But because he went to Chelsea, I get the benefit of cursing at him and repeatedly calling him a c*nt at least twice a season, while holding a useless but incredibly satisfying grudge against him just for his general demeanor and lack of good taste.

I'm just not sure I would find him so loathsome if he went to Juventus.

On the flip side, in this world of star promotion it's difficult to be a fan of a sport and not develop some sort of affinity for players that you admire on other teams. And so, it's incredibly disappointing when players you like go to teams you hate. Essien to Chelsea. Tevez to Man U. Garnett to the Celtics.

Of course, it is possible that your ire towards a player's new club may in fact change the way you feel about said player - i.e. Berbatov. Yes, Spurs are technically our greatest rival, but I doubt there are too many Gooners left that get more pumped up for a trip to WHL than OT. When he was a yid, I loved him. Loved the way he played, his sublime touch, his perceived indifference to everything around him.

But the first time I saw him in that red fucking jersey with AIG on the front I immediately started to believe all of the horrible things that have been said about him and more. Now I can't stand him. But Tevez? Essien? As long as they aren't scoring goals against Arsenal, I generally block out in my mind the team they play for and simply enjoy them for the fantastic footballers they are. What makes them different? I have no idea.

That's one of the great things about an emotion as strong as hate: it's completely irrational. Why do I dislike Barcelona more now that they took Henry away, but when Bobby picked up his glorious boots and headed south he took a piece of my allegiance with him to Villarreal? At least we got money from Barcelona. Who knows?

The point is, Ronaldo playing at Man U, Terry and Lampard playing for Chelsea, Romo and TO at the Cowboys; all are necessary to keep the rivalry fresh and alive. In some ways it was disappointing not hating the fact that the Celtics won this year, simply because that meant a player I've watched since he was in high school finally got the ring he deserved. Yet the joy that I got from a) Ronaldo shitting the bed and b) Chelsea not winning fuck-all because Terry proved what a donkey he is was priceless. In the absence of your own team doing well (I keep telling myself four years really isn't that long), the next best thing is watching the teams or players you hate fail and suffer.

Every time Ronaldo takes a deep breath, puffs up his chest while standing over a free kick, and then promptly launches it into the twenty-second row it genuinely makes me smile. And when he does connect in the way only he can and it dips and swerves and deposits itself in the net somewhere behind the dumbfounded keeper, I can still tell myself he's a preening, self-absorbed, diving little twat that just got lucky.

Support of your team is one thing. Hating your rivals is something else altogether.


Precious Roy said...

I'd enjoy hating my rivals a little more if we were looking down the table at them at least once since Bergkamp left.

Precious Roy said...

By the way, the pic... Cole's age, IQ, or number of women he's subjected to a Roman Shower?

Autoglass said...

How about Hull City? Do you Gooners hate all the clubs above you in the table? Just wondering...

Bigus Dickus said...

Touché Auto.
Nice piece private.

bergkampesdios said...

Roy - by accounts of his dalliances it's the size of his ****.
Auto - last I checked Man U was still midtable. At least until next week.

phil said...

I'm reminded of my favorite Spurs chant:

Tweety, Tweety, Tweety
She cannot fucking sing
And when she's shagging Ashley Cole
She dreams of Ledley King

bergkampesdios said...

I prefer Scotland's version (dated):

Posh Spice is a slapper
She wears Versace clothes
and when she's shagging Beckham
She dreams of Berti Vogts.