Dad’s acting even stranger than usual, if that’s possible. He’s sitting in his chair staring off into space one minute, the next he’s pacing around. He goes out into the garden and stands with his hands on his hips looking up at the sky then down at me before stomping off into the kitchen. He opens the fridge then closes it again. He returns to his chair, his brow knitted and the industrial sounds of his teeth grinding together the only thing breaking the silence, apart from the ticking clock he keeps glancing at, and the occasional grunt he makes after viewing the time.
I know what’s bothering him, what’s making him tense, because I feel it too. The butterflies are as present in my stomach as they are in his. I share his tension, his fears, his pure emotion. We wait…dad and Bones, as the world turns and the clock ticks, ever onward, counting down to kick off.
Yes my friends, that’s right! Today is the start of the Premier League season here in England’s green and pleasant land. Forget the Olympics, forget the European Championships – mere distractions – this is it, time to get down to the important business.
Mine and dad’s team have had a couple of dreadful seasons but with a new manager coming in there is a whole new feelgood factor, me and dad are clinging desperately to the hope of qualifying for European football next season.
There is nothing like footy to run you through the whole range of emotions – the greatest highs and the deepest lows. Screaming red-faced at the television, cheering and yelling in triumph or sitting head in paws mourning defeat.
Dad used to treasure having a season ticket but he can’t go anymore and that sometimes makes him a bit sad. We’ll be watching a game and he’ll say to me: “Look Bones, that’s where me and my mates used to sit, just behind the dugout.” Or, “That’s where I used to stand with the lads when they still had terraces.”
The game won’t be on television, dad will go to the pub and watch the results coming in, sometimes we listen to the live commentary on the radio. We’ll watch Match of the Day tonight and extended highlights on Football First; tomorrow we’ll watch other teams play live on tv.
Me and my dad love football, it’s just absolute torture waiting for 3 o’clock.