The excellent weekly radio football show Cafe Calcio returns to the air next Friday, and for this series one of its regular features will be the Street Pharmacists Guide To Football. Here’s co-host Chris Roberts on the more-ish effects of the Premier League for the supporter of a newly-promoted club.
I won’t pretend that it’s not exciting, a dream even, but you don’t want to get too carried away. Of course those first trips to Stamford Bridge and Goodison in the league are a buzz, can’t deny it, but one can take or leave them. The kids were beside themselves but we could handle it, I mean they’d been to Hillsborough and Deepdale before hadn’t they? Naturally it was nice being amongst the elite but it’s just an adventure isn’t it? One week to the next, the new songs, unfamiliar stations and Gary Lineker being kind to us on the telly.
The cost came as a bit of shock, even our home prices rose, but it’s worth it to be part of the best league in the world and, well, it’s a big adventure isn’t it? My kids are full of it at school following Monday even after that incident at the Emirates. I keep telling the wife we’ll go abroad next year on holiday not via the Europa, even if it’s nice to dream. I mean if Stoke and Bolton can do it. I always fancied Bergen away or the eldest says somewhere in Spain. The league is the bread and butter though, every place counts and, I’m told, one position in the Premier is worth more than a run to quarter finals of the Europa. Every game is vital at this level and you learn something at every match.
I can’t pretend we like losing, particularly that horror show at West Ham (I mean we should beat them) but we are there amongst the elite and that’s what happens. I say we but my youngest has stopped coming, have to admit that it’s a saving and I’ve promised to make it up to him. Wife asked me how I’m going to make it up to her and I said when we are safe. She didn’t laugh. No one laughs much around the ground now in the winter but we wouldn’t swap this for anything else. We played Gillingham in the cup and we were the top dogs. We were giant killed but even that was a novel experience. I’m not saying I couldn’t live without it but the Premier League still gives us all a lift. Think we even sang “we’ll never play you again” and half meant it as we looked forward to Newcastle United at home.
Geordies and their fans! Mental that lot! Course we’d played them in the second tier recently but it’s so much more a sense of occasion in the top flight, should be too at that price. Worth it though, we got a draw thereby denting their Europa hopes. Imagine that? Denting a Geordie’s hopes! Course it might be better to see us win a bit more and even show a bit more expansiveness in our play but, as I said to my eldest, that’s the price you pay at this level. I mean look at Everton! Still dour after all these years but solid and getting results, we’re just dour and some people say dire but I say I can handle it. I mean it’s not the end of the world if we go down. Is it?
Got to admit it is habit forming, all the matches being well reported, well, reported anyway and the chance to join in the phone ins. Fun to be a part of something so big but just wish the matches were more so. Tried bringing the wife to Fulham, I thought she’d like a trip to London. She did but spent it shopping with the youngest in Camden. He got a henna tattoo, she seems to have developed an interest in art as they spent rest of time on South Bank, must admit didn’t realise it was so expensive going to the Tate. It was nice travelling back and forth as a family though, felt like a long time since we did that. She asked me on the way back about next season…well, I began, rather depends on if our new signings work out and if we can get a point at Tottenham and Liverpool lose away.
I think that’s where I lost her. I mean I could still live without the Premier League but I’d miss my friends, Lawro, Childesy, Alan Green and the rest. I found myself locked into the banter boards and newscasts hoping for a mention that didn’t contain the phrase “relegation threatened”. The divorce request came through three weeks before the end of the season. I said I’d cope with it after, make it all better. I can handle it like I can handle the Premier League, it’s just a phase right? I’m not an addict or anything.
Chris Roberts co-hosts Café Calcio on Resonance 104.4 FM. He wrote the book Football Voodoo on magic and superstition in soccer and is responsible for the Football Art Masterclass, the Latin speaking football correspondent Tacticus and the Russian billionaires random team name generator.
Café Calcio is broadcast at 7.00 PM on 104.4 Resonance FM and repeated on Saturday’s at 11 AM. Shows from the first three seasons can be found http://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/sets/cafe-calcio/ and season four here http://soundcloud.com/cafe-calcio/tracks you can stalk the show on Twitter @cafecalcio
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