When I was a young lad, my best friend’s name was Daryl Gittings. Being a typical young lad, I had no idea which football team to support, so when Daryl told me that he supported Nottingham Forest, then I threw my hat in with him. I told my parents that I supported them, and they bought me some wristbands, and the proper kit (jersey, shorts and socks). I was ecstatic – even though they were not the top club at the time. You have to remember – we are talking about the late ’70′s/early ’80s here. I’m talking about the time when Brian Clough took over the club – a time that some consider to be among the best ever at the club. They had people such as Peter Shilton, Martin O’Neill and Trevor Francis playing for them. I supported them up until the time that my parents decided to move back to India, and started by sending me off to a boarding school there in 1987. That was when my life changed.
Fast forward to 1994 – my father had finally relented, and I was back where I belonged – back in the UK. I was in my aunty Leela’s house with another kid – whose name I forget. He was not a bad kid, but watching Liverpool play Manchester United, he was very much on the side of Liverpool, and bad mouthing Manchester United at every possible opportunity. Now I was 21, and still a little….rough. So I decided to support Manchester United! As luck would have it, fortune did indeed favour the bold, and United beat Liverpool. The one common theme that I had heard was that nobody like United – they were scum, etc. So I decided to become a Manchester United supporter!
At this point though, I moved up to Scotland, and settled in Glasgow. I started going to University there, and had two really good friends – Derek and Damian. Now Derek was an avid Rangers supporter, while Damian worshipped Celtic. I didn’t realize at the time that football in Glasgow is divided by religion. Protestants support Rangers, while Catholics supported Celtic. Being neither, I was in a bit of a rut when it came to choosing a side. As we developed friendships in class however, it became evident to me that there were more Celtic supporters than Rangers supporters. This was clear when we went to a Laser Tag arena, and we heard good natured chants of “Get the Hun, get the hun!”.
This was all in good taste mind you – nobody ever held anything against another in my class, as we were all good friends. I would sit between Derek and Damian with my folder open, and they would use it to snipe at each other. Damian would write something like “DICANIO” (Paolo DiCanio was a very popular player at Celtic back then – Damian even asked a guy at a disco if they had a version of D-I-S-C-O which sounded like D-I-CAN-IO!). He would then pass my folder to me to pass on to Derek, who was sitting on my other side. Derek would retaliate with “Damian’s blows goats – I have proof”. There was a lot of laughter back then!!
So that was me – avid Manchester United supporter as well as Glasgow Rangers supporter. Living in Glasgow at that time, I was more enamoured by the SPL than the EPL (Scottish vs English Premier League).
I’ve even been to Ibrox, which is Ranger’s famed home ground, for a work Christmas party – but I will go into that party in another post.
As I graduated and started working full time, I was able to afford Sky TV (satellite tv in the UK), and was able to watch more matches. Saw people like Eric Cantona play – his flying foot into the stands is still something to behold!.
Then at the beginning of 2001 I moved to the US. Football (or soccer as it is known over here) is not as popular as it is back home in the UK. I did manage to find a channel that shows games, and now watch any EPL game that United is in.
Now, I am sure that you are wondering why I have written this post.
Well, my parents arrived here last Wednesday to spend a month with me. When my mother arrived, she had a bag of my old pictures as well as a signature sheet of the players of Nottingham Forest. That’s what brought back the memories. In addition to that, today Manchester United were playing in the Fifa World Club Cup in Japan. I did tape it (as it was on at 5:30am EST) and have seen the first half. United are up 2-0 against Gambo Osaka. Nemanja Vidic headed in the first one, before Ronaldo followed suit – also on the head.
I’ll watch the second half later – I hope that United hold on to win!!
Anyway , that’s my post for now. I’ll leave you with Tasmin Archer and Sleeping Satellites – hadn’t heard this in a while, and then heard a remix of this on tv today: