For the love of the game

As football traders, do we still have the same passion for the working man’s ballet?

In 1982 I was just ten. Not one for playing football at school or at the park, I settled for riding my bike, climbing trees and a bit of fishing. During that summer, I was aware of this football World Cup but wasn’t taking much notice of it. That was until the night of July 11th. It had been a really hot day and the men in our family, including me, sat down to watch the World Cup final.  Despite the goal-less first half, I was utterly gripped. And then, over the next 45 minutes, it began to dawn on me just what this game was all about. Italy gave W. Germany a master class in football and took the game 3-1. When Marco Tardelli scored to take Italy to a 2-0 lead, his celebration gave anyone watching a glimpse of what it feels like to score in your country’s colours, in the World Cup final. That celebration has, ever since, been my reference point for what football should signify.

After that fateful day, being a London boy, I nailed my flag to the mast of Chelsea and spent the next 20+ years fully immersed in anything football. I still have some Panini sticker books…

But something changed when I discovered trading. My thought processes became different when I viewed a game. I found that Chelsea being beaten didn’t affect me any longer, provided I was on the right side of trade. It dawned on me that the club and international competitions are, in fact, omnipresent. I no longer care, that much, if England win or lose – but that might be down to the players not earning my respect as much as anything else.

Watching the game played properly is always a joy but, though I have the privilege of earning a living from it, the small boy inside greatly misses the beautiful game and the idea of what it once meant both to me and to the likes of Marco Tardelli.


~ by latraderette on February 8, 2011.

One Response to “For the love of the game”

  1. My first WC was 1978 and as I write, I’m humming in my head the BBC theme tune, such was its impact on me.

    I had been following Man Utd since the 1977 FA Cup Final through school peer pressure and fondly remember the mock fights between us all in playground during the week leading up to that game. They say you can always change your woman but never your team, but going into that match I was convinced by my mates into supporting the Scousers! However, the lead-up on BBC showing Cup Final ‘It’s a Knockout’ and other bits and pieces before the game was beginning to win me over to the other side as kick-off approached. I’m sure there must be a caveat about changing your team if it’s your first game?

    During the match, I fell in love with playing on the wing like Gordon Hill and Steve Coppell, and after it was over my mates and I went out and played until it was dark. Coppell was my first hero and I became a right winger in his mould. But at that age, all I wanted to do was to play football and watch football and everytime there was the possibility of extra-time in a game, there was a hope that the game would be extended.

    The 1978 WC was therefore all about following Scotland as they were the only home nation and in particular watching Martin Buchan purely as a United fan, and at the end of the tournament just when all hope was expiring, up popped Nanninga to equalise in injury time and send the match into extra-time. It was a Boy’s Own final and just a shame that the Dutch couldn’t push on and win it for us Europeans.

    Yes, those days of innocence and Cup Final It’s a Knockout are well and truly over and the game is a different sport now, but at least it is more accessible and I can watch to my heart’s content, even if the wife has given up moaning and adopted a ‘join them’ approach. She’s a maths wizard and has just started a web site analysing football betting strategies. Might be worth a visit for those who need to get their heads around probability theory, staking plans and odds =

    She still can’t bear to watch a game though and really cannot understand how I could have followed a team for 33 seasons. I’m not even going to try and explain it; now what was that theme tune again…

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