By John ‘Gus’ Ferguson
Writing about being in my mid 40s, and balancing running a business or working in your profession with your family commitments while trying to get to see your football team probably isn’t anything new. However, it’s nice to occasionally revive this theme and remind all the mid 40s jugglers that you are not alone and not a freak. Whatever club you support.
I often get asked about my typical week and how I manage all the usual commitments with being a Spurs fan and season ticket holder. My typical response is that it’s a ‘nightmare’. As much as I the love running my businesses and the new challenges it brings, the same applies to the daily challenge of dealing with a wife and kids who just don’t get football, and living outside the UK!
Supporting Spurs for 40 years leaves one with lots of scars, mainly mental but with the occasional physical one thrown in for good measure (falling out of second floor windows in Germany, or scaling barbed wire fences in Slovakia can have that effect).
I’ve witnessed everything from signing two Argentinian World Cup winners that as a boy I had just watched on TV. I’ve seen FA Cup wins, FA Cup losses, League Cup Wins and League Cup losses, a UEFA Cup final win on penalties, ludicrous defeats, unbelievable wins, hero’s come and then leave, and mundane 0-0 draws after making ridiculous journeys to see a game.
That’s the life of a supporter, and age, how one is supposed to behave, and our other life commitments always seem to take second place ….. if all this sounds familiar then I’m happy to have brought some normality to your reasoning. If you think I’m barking mad then I feel a bit sorry for you as I doubt you have experienced the ‘buzz’ and comradeship that making unreasonable efforts to more often than not experience disappointment undoubtedly brings.
My typical, untypical week usually starts on a Monday (unless Spurs have one of those annoying moved for TV Monday night games). A thorough day of meetings and dealing with the needs of the business is regularly intertwined with in depth analysis of the sports pages and these days the electronic sports news and social media. Of course we disagree with everything written and could have written it better ourselves, and what match was the reporter watching! Monday is also the “I’m busy” emails from friends who support other teams day or the instigate emails to friends “as we won” day.
The rest of the week will follow a similar vein but as one gets older and perhaps more senior in their profession, or perhaps simply more cavalier it does seem to become a game to see how many references to Spurs can be incorporated in your daily life, and how often you can use club colours or themes in your professional life.
Then for me as the weekend or that mid week European game approaches it becomes the cat and mouse game of trying to schedule my meetings in London around the time of home games. Thankfully even after 11 years my wife stilldoesn’t think to look at the fixture list and cross reference it with my ‘necessary and vitally important business meetings’ in London.
Don’t we all adore what Sky, in particular, and BT have done for football? Yes is the main answer as we have one of the best and most exciting leagues in the world purely as a result of the TV money and exposure and technology that has been added to the game – like all good things there’s a price. For me this price is Sunday kick offs at 4pm which don’t allow me to fly home which results in having to sell the reason to be away all weekend. I should feel guilty, I should want to be home and go to the DIY store and play with the kids. I don’t. I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty.
Then there is the money – the physical costs of this addiction that must easily be up there with any drug addicts outgoings. I hate to think of the money I’ve spent getting to Spurs matches. 6,000 mile round trip to Moldova to see a 0-0. Trains planes and taxis to get to defeats, my bi-weekly 1,500 mile return flight – and the ‘but darling it’s Burnley at home’ excuse.
I could probably have afforded to buy an upcoming striker in League One with the money I would have accumulated if not for my football vice. Certainly the mortgage would have been cleared quicker and that world cruise for our wedding anniversary would have been easy.
Yet when at the game, when in the bars and restaurants mixing with people from all walks of life all with the same hope and dream for the next few hours none of the costs and none of the juggling means anything. It’s all about the club you love.
They say boys never grow up and I think its true. I’ve lost count of the number of Board Meetings, Client Meetings, Parents Evenings, School Plays, Family do’s et al I’ve attended when my mind is completely elsewhere waiting for injury news, transfer news, team line ups, FA disciplinary hearing results.
So what’s a typical week? I will let you know if I ever experience one but I hope I don’t. Isn’t it wonderful spending your week building up to an event with unknown and often unpredictable outcome with lots of variables, where everybody attending has a different opinion, but for 90 minutes leaves you feeling alive? Well I think so.
Long live football – in this day and age of social media & e-living, where new employees straight out of University are terrified of meeting people and communicating in old fashioned traditional voice media ways which we used to call conversation, football remains a reminder of human interaction and how good it is.
Enough for now as my Twitter feeds need checking!