I’ve got the Scottish League Cup final on in the background as I write this. Celtic are 1-0 up against Dundee United, and it’s going as expected. It’s fast paced, got a good atmosphere and has been quite entertaining so far, a feisty match that threatens a few more goals and the possibility of there being less than twenty-two men on the pitch by full time. An enjoyable match, in other words.
The thing is, I can’t seem to get into Scottish football. When we moved North Of The Wall I thought I’d be able to get into the Scottish league, pick a team and start going to matches. I’ve been a football supporter for most of my life, and follow two English teams, West Ham because it runs in the family, and Southend because it’s my home town. Neither are particularly good, but that’s the nature of football – I support them despite them never winning anything.
It should be easy, then. I could go and watch my new local team, Stirling Albion, even if they are having a terrible season. If not them, I could easily find one nearby. Scotland is full of football teams. It’s not working for me, though. I can’t even seem to remember to check the Scottish scores, while I still obsessively keep track of the latest scores, transfer news and whatever else coming out of the English league.
It may be because I grew up with English football instead of Scottish. Scottish clubs were the weird ones with odd names like Queen of the South or Heart of Midlothian that appeared in the sticker albums, the ones we only collected for completeness sake. I never formed that formative connection with the league, or the teams in it.
I think that’s what I’m missing. I never chose the teams I support in England, they were handed down to me as a child. Now, I get to make a choice, which isn’t what football’s about. Football is about following a team no matter what. Knowing that I chose a team simply because they were nearby makes my connection less strong. It’d be far easier to walk away from a club I randomly picked as an adult.
I’m going to finish watching this match, and try to get excited about the winner. Maybe I’ll start going to a few matches, chosen at random, and maybe a team will catch my eye. Maybe then I’ll start following them and going to matches regularly. Even if I do, I suspect I’ll still be sneaking a glance at the West Ham score at half time.