Playing football in the same team as my father has effected our relationship more than anything else. I learnt my entire pre-match routine from him, from poached eggs on toast to football focus. We packed our bags together, read the sports pages and walked up to the village green talking about the game. I was as proud of him as he was of me. There is still nothing more exciting than Saturday mornings.
My door into adult life was opened through football. At 14, I learnt how men really talked. Players, whose teenage children were fobbed off with cokes and crisps, welcomed me into the bar and bought me beer. However young I was seemed forgotten, because I could play their game.
I often wonder if football will affect the lives of my children as greatly. Will it run endlessly through their excitable minds? Will its simple pleasures form the common ground for enthused conversation and lively debate? Who’s to know, but it’s hard to imagine such prominent genes could skip a generation.
Currently, Saturday mornings are as exciting as ever. In the fourteenth year of my adult football career, my dad’s old routine is still in place and my enthusiasm yet to wane. Sadly for him, the days of playing are now few and far between. I hasten to add, however, that he’s set to make a comeback this season aged just 53. Presently, he’ll be cleaning his boots and checking the fridge for eggs.