“This is all your fault!” Is the football stand really the place for your other half?

These days wives are usually footy partners. But are they honestly the best person to have there in the stands with you? Not always…

It was the Cup Final, I was on my feet, fists clenched, heart pounding. It was the last minute of play, 0-0, and we had a throw-in from only 5 yards out. As our long-throw specialist takes the ball my mate Dave leans over & says to me: “Hey, I bet the linesman flags for offside!”

Through the haze of adrenaline & anticipation I briefly glanced at Dave’s gurning face. “Haha, yeah!”, I replied. And then, after noticing that the linesman was a woman, I saw my wife’s face. She was shooting poor Dave a murderous glance. “IT’S A FOOTBALL JOKE, NOT SOME HEAVY POLITICAL STATEMENT”, I bellowed, much to the astonishment of the assembled fans.

Our long-throw expert slipped, the best opportunity of the game was lost. It ended 0-0 then we lost on penalties.

You see, when it comes to football, sometimes women just don’t get it. Which is why I think the match isn’t always the right place for them. Or a lot of the whole ‘supporting a football team thing’, really.

It starts early on, this lack of understanding. They think rushing to the nearest TV / internet screen / radio to see the new season’s fixture list as soon as it’s announced is funny. Or sexy. Or weird. It’s none of these things. It’s just something we have to do. And is not in any way similar to that thing that her mate Helen did when she heard that Justin Bieber had turned 16 & was touring.

Then comes nine long months of confusion. She doesn’t get why you are weeping after losing 3-0 at home to Scunthorpe. She doesn’t understand that your need for Sky Sports is not to do with “supporting an evil multi-national cartel”. And she doesn’t appreciate that when you win 1-0 at Man U in the semi-final, you’re covered in sweat & beer, & you haven’t shaved since the quarters that you are still really, really ‘up for it’.

And so, as the big day approaches, why aren’t we all left wondering if this girl in our house who keeps shooting puzzled glances in our direction is really the one we want with us while we are desperately willing our success-starved team to its 1st trophy in 40 years?

Ken Lattimore wondered – and was proved right. So much so, he decided to become a ticket-tout who resells only to men and so give other men the chance to have someone useful present at this crucial time.

His wife had, after all, chuckled heartily when his team had missed a penalty, sang the other team’s songs “‘cos the tunes are better” & throughout the match repeatedly yelled “Nice arse!”. You really couldn’t make it up.

It seems that some women are also fairly ineffectual even when they are in their own homes. Rob Schuler had his hopes pinned on watching the match on TV when he got home from work, due to an unavoidable prior commitment. As it was, his wife was tasked with recording it for him – and ended up recording X-Factor instead. He came home exhausted but excited, having manfully avoided hearing the result all evening, only to switch on to see some spotty teenager singing out of tune followed by Simon’s sarcastic sneering. He ended up over at his single mate’s place to watch the game there. No wonder these men chose to redress the balance by becoming single themselves.

My wife, apart from the throw-in incident, was actually pretty good. There were no requests for an explanation of the offside rule, no chatting about make-up & cooking, no ill-timed comments about what sexy legs the other goalie had (although I could definitely see her leering). And in her second season, her technique was even better. Chips were handed over at the correct intervals and she’s never mentioned what I shouted at the Ref after that disallowed goal once. Well, not much.

They don’t all improve though, and certainly not in the case of Stan Ockwell, Manager of Barnstoneworth United & a veteran of 4 cup finals: “With number one, I asked her to be ready after lunch, she panicked, went out with no glasses on, walked into an open cupboard door and knocked herself out.

“With number two, she spent the whole match shouting for the opposition, then fell asleep – the coach had to wake her after the presentation. With three and four I kept her occupied doing pretend jobs. If I ever get to another one I think I might just ‘forget’ to tell her…”

These days, having our partners present has become the norm. Let’s start a backlash, I say. A return to the old days, where the women stayed at home cooking & cleaning & making themselves pretty and the men did all this football stuff together by themselves.

That would be much better. But wait, hold on – if they don’t see what we have to go through, how do we explain why we have to be away so much of the time? Darn it…

Do you have your partner with you when you go to the footy? Share your stories below…

Or is this maybe a bit much? Even a bit ‘sexist’, perhaps?

What it is actually is as direct a paraphrase as I could manage of this article on ParentDish, which they were publicising on twitter this evening. All I’ve done is change the gender roles as best as I could.

Now what do you think?

     And the ‘joke’? You can’t be offside from a throw-in


24 thoughts on ““This is all your fault!” Is the football stand really the place for your other half?”

    1. I tried commenting earlier but my wifi is rubbish downstairs. I’ve never done a linky & don’t know how, so I hadn’t planned on one. But I think you’ve guessed now that is this is meant as satire. It seems to have opened up a lively debate though, & that’s good!

  1. I am actually a bit insulted, please do not tar us all with the same brush!
    I adore going to matches (sadly we don’t do it often enough since having a family), the atmosphere is electric. I know the offside rule, can often be seen shouting at the ref or linesman and I sing all the football chants.
    We have Sky Sports and ESPN and I can always be found watching the match even if hubby is at work. Saturday afternoon just wouldn’t be the same without Jeff and the boys and their banter.
    I enjoy footie banter, in fact it’s what I joined twitter for. I take part in Dreamteams, even winning occasionally, which admittedly causes the men a little pain!
    Don’t be sexist guys, footie can be enjoyed by all!

    1. Thanks for your comment. Would you believe I totally agree with you? I’m guessing you didn’t read the post to the end, or check the Parentdish article if you did. That’s really what this is about 🙂

    1. It was meant to be satirical, yes: but the reactiond to it have been interesting, with a lot of people taking it literally. I’d love to read your post, link it here if you want to 🙂

  2. I’ve counted to ten, I’ve rolled my eyes and contemplated whether I can be bothered to reply but yes I can
    I disagree entirely. Not only is this sexist it’s demeaning to women too. Women have every right to follow football and support a club, run the line, place a bet, understand the offside rule and despair at the ineptitude of many male referees.
    I’ve supported Chelsea since my teens and I love the beautiful game and I don’t give a toss what men think about women loving football. You’re just setting out to antagonise women here and I leave you to your own thoughts and devices

    That is all.

    1. Thanks for your reply Judith. I agree with you! This is meant as satire, & I was trying to make a point. Although it seems to have raised an interesting debate! If you click on the link at the end all should become clear 🙂

  3. I am disappointed! ;0) Thought you were very brave but saw your point and wanted to show the other side. Are you even a football fan? If not, my post might be lost. ;0)

      1. Burnley. Don’t laugh!!! My post seemed good when I thought that you were serious. I am trying to adapt it, now that I know you were joking, but it’s losing it’s oomph. ;0)

        1. Burnley? That’s great – you’re supporting your local team, right? Good for you. Sorry if I’ve blunted your sword, I’m still looking forward to your post.

  4. I’ve now read the parentdish article you were referring to. I have to say parentdish frustrates me with their articles and this is no exception. I think it is each individuals decision whether they want to be in the delivery room and with the exception of the medical team it’s a tough and emotional thing to witness for the birthing partner.
    The post was a brilliant retort and provoked some great debate this morning. Thank you

    1. Thank you!. As a hands-on Dad I was pretty angry at the article: suggesting that someone shouldn’t be allowed to do something purely on the basis of their gender – or race, or age, or sexual orientation – is just plain wrong. And when that something is the greatest moment of their lives, as it was for me & many other Dads – doubly so. I thought reversing the gender as much as I could was the best way of making my point. Thanks again 🙂

  5. My Mrs. really, really wants to go with me, but with her temper, I wouldn’t want to risk things kicking off on the train on the way down haha! Actually on a serious note I think she wants to go nowadays more than I do.

    Have you got an email address that I can contact you on, as I have a blogging opportunity that you might be interested in?

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