I haven't always hated football. Being the youngest of 3 girls, my Dad had high hopes that may be this time, just maybe his youngest daughter would have a little interest in the game that he loved so much.
I have a hazy recollection of collecting Panini stickers for the 1986 World Cup, and often shock male peers with my knowledge of footballers from around that time.
Needless to say my brief love affair with the wonderful game quikly disappeared along with Englands' World Cup dreams, and my Panini book became relegated to the bottom of my sock drawer to help keep the bottom from falling out.
It was at this point my Dad lost interest in trying to prise me away from my books to watch a football match with him. The closest I think he got was my participation in helping him with the weekly "spot the ball" competition (we never won).
I feigned some interest when I started dating my now husband. I would stand dutifully at the side lines of his teams' football match cheering them on. I would sit awkwardly week on week in the club house bar, smoking endless Mayfair Lights and supping pints (pretty classy back then...!) whilst my eyes glazed over listening to the men and their football talk. Concentrating more on the need NOT to go to the toilet so I wouldn't have to venture into the "ladies"...brrrr the memories.
With the honeymoon well and truely over, I was happy for the men to do their football thing, and I was rolled out at every England Euro or World match when it was clear to me that there was going to be lots alcohol involved.
But over the years my dwindling interest in football has turned to resentment. Once famed for their talents (and I am not doubting this), the footballers of this generation are more about the sponsorship, celebrity and waif-wife. Their weddings are plastered over the glossies, their affairs are splattered over the tabloids and their childrens faces hidden from public view. Yet on they strut at each match. Looking coifed and chisled to within an inch of their lives, only to roll around like they are have been shot if an opponent happens to knock a carefully gelled hair out of place. I find it rather sickening.
However, there was a little glimmer of a few weeks back. Whilst flicking through the channels I happened to find Soccor Aid. Ok granted I was only drawn to this when I see the gorgeous Robbie Williams looking very fine as he was limbering up at the side of the pitch, but aside from this capturing my attention, I did watch the match for a good 20 minutes. And it was then that I realised that if every football match was like this, I would watch a lot more football.
Yes it was slower, the skills were not honed, and quite frankly I was worried for a lot of the older players/celebrities old tickers as they huffed and puffed up and down the pitch. But the game was friendly, they all seemed to be enjoying it, and I am told it raised a lot of money for charity.
So I guess its not the game I hate, its the players, the attitude and everything that surrounds the footballing industry.
How do you feel about it?