This weekend, I went to see Clapton Community FC. They’re one of London’s premier football teams.
It’s also only the third football match I’ve ever been to, and yes, it was a revelatory experience.
The game helped me discover that most of my adult life has been lived in ignorance. Yes, I really didn’t understand the true meaning of football.
It’s been so affirming, I thought I’d share it with you.
Discovering Clapton Community FC
I’ll start by introducing Clapton Community FC, with a little help from their crest.
Clapton Community FC’s crest is a silhouette of some red prison bars.
It’s totally appropriate, because Clapton Community FC are so cool it’s criminal. It’s also an indication that they were established by escaped convicts. So you have to support them. Or else.
Now that we’ve got your new favourite team out of the way, let me educate you on exactly what English Football is, with a simple seven point list.
1. English Football Doesn’t Happen In France
Like me, you’ve probably only been to two football matches.
Let me guess, both were in France during the 2016 European Championships? Wait, you were chaperoning a Government Minister too?
Well, this may come as a shock to you, but what you saw there was not English Football.
No, that was European Football. Just like American Football, European Football is totally different to English Football.
How’s it different? Hmm, this one’s quite difficult to explain, so I’ll use some pictures to show you.
This Is English Football:
This Is European Football:
In European Football, players run around nicely, kick the ball accurately, and play in really big stadiums. It’s also more artistic, and sometimes the muppets help out with the drum solos.
English Football is more, how would I put it? Passionate.
It’s not about making contact with the ball, effective throws from the corner, or even running in the right direction.
No, English football’s all about passion. And pride. And loyalty.
And getting drunk on the sidelines.
2. English Football Isn’t Free
As I’ve already established, English football is about getting drunk on the sidelines. But how do you do it?
I mean, it’s not like you can bring beer with you.
No, to watch a team like Clapton Community FC, you have to travel to Walthamstow, or if you support another team, somewhere else that’s at least three miles away.
Three miles is a pretty long journey isn’t it? I mean, it’s too far for you to carry a six pack in your flimsy tote bag. More, why should you? You’re doing the world a favour by going outside and supporting a bunch of people you don’t actually know.
So it’s fair enough to assume that when you go to one of these games there’ll be free beer.
Well listen up. There isn’t any free beer at English football.
There aren’t even free cans of the beers people don’t like (Carlsberg and Heineken).
No, you have to pay for it with your own money, like a pleb.
Even after forking out £2, you’ll probably only end up with a 400ml can of Tyskie, and that’s assuming you had the foresight to bring cash.
But it’s a necessary expense, because English football is all about getting drunk on the sidelines.
3. You Don’t Always Need To Bring Wellies
Why do you need wellies at a football game? Is it because it’s muddy?
No, you need to bring your wellies because someone’s going to piss on you.
Well, that’s what my father used to tell me.
When I was younger, my parents lived in Newcastle. The locals didn’t have much to do, so they spent their time watching football and getting drunk. I mean, given how atrocious NUFC are, can you think of any other explanation?
As an impressionable child, I wanted to do that too, so I asked my father to take me to St James Park.
His response was always the same:
“Henry, if you sit in those stands, one of those ghastly Geordies will spot you. They’ll see that you’re a pretty boy, and then they’ll wop out their member and start pissing all over you. It’s a fact. Every time I’ve been to a football match someone has pissed on me. IT’S A FACT!”
Those with children, take note. Telling them that Mickey’s going to piss on them is a really easy way to get them to shut up getting Disney+.
Don’t trust me? Well, this story’s actually true. You can tell because my father’s second sentence is always, “It’s a fact.” Before you ask, no, he’s never read any Descartes.
Anyway, it turns out that my father might have been lying, because while watching Clapton Community FC, no one pissed on me. And yes, I am still a delicate English Rose.
But to give my father the benefit of the doubt, maybe no one pissed on me because I got there late.
The lesson, English football is not always urolagnia unleashed.
4. Horses Might NOT Bite Your Fingers Off
My father also used to tell me that if I went to a football match, a police horse would bite my fingers off.
Because fingers look like carrots and police horses are underfed. Well, what do you expect to happen when pigs are put in charge of the grain silo?
However, I think he might have been lying about this too.
While watching Clapton Community FC, the only person who tried to bite off my fingers was me.
No wait, now I’m lying.
I wasn’t really paying enough attention to experience anything close to a wracking of nerves.
So English football does not involve horses hungry for fingers.
5. You Don’t Need To Know The Players’ Names
Before you go to a game, you might feel obliged to learn all of the players’ names.
Don’t bother, they have numbers on their backs, so you totally don’t need to.
Shouting, “You dick number 11, your name’s probably Kevin,” is just as effective as shouting, “go on Shearer.” (he’s still playing or Manchester United, right?)
Using their numbers will also give you the opportunity to prepare your rhymes ahead of the game.
To get you started, I’ve put together some ideas below. Don’t worry, I’ve gone to extreme lengths to make sure they’re not sexist.
- One kind of rhymes with fun, so you could shout, “You dick number one, last night your [father/mother] was fun.”
- Two rhymes with blew, so you could shout, “You dick number two, I knew your [father/mother] blew.”
- Three rhymes with amputee, so you could shout, “You dick number three, your [father’s/mother’s] an amputee.”
As far as I can tell, rhymes are the most effective way of getting everyone in the crowd to agree with your point, and start jibing at the players with you.
Also, these taunts don’t need to be shouted in context, because, well, the football players are playing football. They don’t care about your clearly articulated points.
English football is like politics. No one’s going to pretend to care about your opinion unless they want to tell you theirs.
6. English Football Features The Fiercest Fights
For a game to count as an official match, there has to be a fight. Otherwise it’s totally impossible to figure out who’s winning.
English football fights fall into three distinct categories:
- My Dad’s bigger than your Dad
- You kicked me on purpose
- I’m gonna deck you if you don’t stop looking at the girl I fancy even though she hates me because I start fights at football games and think its attractive to eat ginsters pasties while sitting on the toilet
During the game I saw this weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing a classic ‘My Dad’s Bigger than your Dad‘.
Here’s how it went down:
CCFC’s No. 10 disagreed with Blue-Vest-Yellow-Shoes, “There’s no way your dad could beat up my dad.” CCFC’s No. 10 was so sure of it he said, “Oi! Blue-Vest-Yellow-Shoes. Your dad couldn’t even beat up my dad if your cousin helped, because my dad’s 15 stone and he’s got £1 million and that guy with the eyepatch from Metal Gear Solid was based on him.“
CCFC ‘s Shortest Player (the one with the beard) then came in and said “Yeah Blue-Vest-Yellow-Shoes, if your cousin helped your dad try to beat up No. 10’s dad, even though he wouldn’t need any help, I’d call my uncle and tell him about it. He’s friends with Diesel from Gladiators, and he owes my uncle a favour. He’d be sure to come down and give your dad AND your cousin a super smashing.” (he held out his arms really far).
Blue-Vest-Orange-Shoes was disturbed by the threat made by CCFC ‘s Shortest Player, so he walked up with the ball and said:
“That’s not fair, Diesel from Gladiators is an absolute monster. He’ll rip Mr Barnington’s head off for sure. You’ve gotta tell your uncle that Diesel can’t be in the fight, or I’ll tell the police and you’ll get nicked for murder. Actually, this is too serious. If you don’t call your uncle to tell Diesel to back off Mr Barnington now, I’m taking my ball home.”
The referee suddenly weighed in.
He started waving his red card everywhere. That’s right, the Blue-Vest-Orange-Shoes‘ cowardly threat to take the ball home is the foul of the century.
The referee had no choice but to deduct a goal from the Blue Shirt’s score.
CLAPTON COMMUNITY FC FOREVER!!!
7. It’s Really, Really, Really Boring
So, as you might have guessed, instead of watching the match, I wrote this.
Which proves once and for all that English football is super boring.
Even after five Tyskies.
Hey, at least I got to see the fight of the century and my clothes don’t smell like piss.