Football: an announcement

Crystal Palace fan
It’s tough being a football fan

Earlier in the summer, I confidently declared on Twitter that I was going to support teams from all four English leagues and all four Scottish leagues this season. After a certain amount of back-and-forth with interested parties (“If your SPL team’s not Hibs we can’t be friends any more”), I came up with two lists, which looked like this:

  • English Premier League: Crystal Palace, obviously. If you don’t know this already go back to the start of the blog and read it again.
  • English Championship: Sheffield Wednesday, partly because Sheffield is another one of those cities I have an inexplicable romantic attachment to without ever having been, and partly because they are a friend’s team and I got jealous when his season started a week before mine did, so I went along with him to the opening game at QPR, which they lost, and during which I was conflicted because my all-time favourite Palace player not including Jonny Williams and Julian Speroni, Andy Johnson, now plays for QPR so I had to sit on my hands and not celebrate his goal.
  • English League One: Colchester United, because I was a student at Essex in the nineties and we used to go and watch them play at the old Layer Road ground, which still had standing terraces. They have a new stadium now, which looks a bit like a car park.
  • English League Two: Southend United, because my friend Sarah was a mascot there in her youth, and because of a general familial attachment to Essex.
  • Scottish Premier League: Hibernian, for reasons alluded to above.
  • Scottish Championship: Hamilton Academical, because it’s a good name and because in the absence of other pressures my instinct is always to look for teams based in and around Glasgow, because I like it there.
  • Scottish League One: Stranraer, because it’s the best placename in all of football.
  • Scottish League Two: Queen’s Park, because of the Glasgow thing and, tenuously, because of the Andy Johnson thing. Keep up.

HOWEVER. A few weeks into the season, I find that I do not have the capacity to genuinely support eight sides at once. The commitment involved in following eight lots of Twitter accounts and eight sets of results is more than I care to give while I still have to find time to do things like eat and go to work. So I am revising my plans accordingly. I will support ONE English team and ONE Scottish team with all my heart and soul, and the rest of them will go on a list of “teams I look out for when I remember”. The English team is obvious and uncontroversial, but I may lose a friend with my choice of Scottish team, because I had a meeting in Glasgow last week, and the jolly, rogueish group of men I was with asked me whether I was Celtic or Rangers, and I knew at once that the correct answer was “Partick Thistle”, and as it turned out I was right and the rest of the meeting went swimmingly. So my Scottish team is Partick Thistle, with apologies to all my Edinburgh friends.

The rest of the sides listed above are hereby demoted to casual lovers, there when I need them but not a permanent fixture, with the exception of Hibs from whom I’m afraid I have to withdraw all support now that I’m a Thistle fan. Sorry.