“Herriot, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley…” The mantra of Boab Coyle Snr, in Paul McGuigan’s excellent short film, The Granton Star Cause, in the film trilogy, The Acid House, based on the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name.
Hunched over a mock-marble fireplace, adorned with a variety of tacky ornaments, the Hibs’ team photo takes pride of place on the mantelpiece, while Boab is vigorously given one by his equally repugnant wife, with the aid of a hefty strap-on, as she questions him over his imaginary sexual deviations with Dolly Parton, amongst others.
Through endeavoured grunts, the leotard-clad actor reels off the line-up of the Hibernian team of 1972, Turnbull’s Tornadoes, one would assume to augment the sexual satisfaction. If you haven’t seen the film, I urge you to do so.
Most will be aware of the equally memorable scene in Trainspotting, when a post-coital, Renton, comes out with the absolute cracker: “I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978!” The fantastically realised vision of the emotional links between sex and football, and the pleasure (or certainly in football’s terms, let downs) which can be acquired from both.
Stereotypical yes, but sex and football could quite easily be described as the cornerstone of male pub conversation. Sexual conquests and first-time experiences regaled in much the same light as a critique of the latest new signing up-front, while over enthusiasm resulting in the potential hurried finish is certainly applicable to both – or so I’ve heard…
If men think about sex every thirty seconds, then surely football can’t be far behind. I’ve no idea how often women think about carnal pleasures, but I’m yet to find one as fascinated in the Dundee United Scottish Cup winning squad of 1994 as I, nor for that matter have I been lucky enough to find a girlfriend who understands the need to watch your team home and away, without the perennial statement: “But you watched them last week, surely you could miss one game, no?” Eh, no.
The analysis; thought, debate, fascination and fantasy ascribed from both subjects is vast, yet in basic terms, both carry the inevitable sameness. Once you’ve seen one goal you’ve seen them all, once you’ve… well, you know where I’m going with this.
But we all know this isn’t the case, don’t we?
If pornographic websites are the most popular online content, then that of football and sport in general, surely must run it a close second. Not all reading this will have photographic memories, yet most will be able to talk at length, when pressed, about a first time sexual experience or that goal, that tackle, that save or that season. Neither topic would fit into the ephemeral bracket.
Whichever the individual takes greater pleasure from is of little concern, each to their own, but both are emotive issues which can be spoken about at length and both attract the insatiable longing to repeat.
There’s a monotony about each proceeding, as least when you view it from its most basic level – please refrain from the old, ‘you’re doing it wrong’ comments! Okay, granted, this doesn’t apply to sex, but football? Of course! It’s not always thrilling, far from it. Heart-stopping, euphoric feelings of elation and orgasmic release are on most occasions not always easy to find within a football ground. If there is a footballing equivalent to Viagra, which could add greater excitement to yet another midweek game against Hamilton, I’d like to hear about it.
All football fans will have similar examples applicable to their respective sides, yet even with that being the case, we still attend these games, week in, week out. Is it habitual or a case of love for the club, a love for that feeling that you get when things do fall into place? The excitement tinged with faint overtones of trepidation before the up-and-coming derby game, or when you’re ten men down and have had to endure the baffling and ‘honest mistakes’ (a phrase common in Scottish football) of the referee, to snatch a last-minute winner at the death.
This piece isn’t about sex, not really, it’s about the longing for a feeling we all love. The feeling that only football can give you. Yes, we all care about the game on different levels, and the match tally will differ for every reader but the feeling is the same – the longing for that feeling is the same. And once you hear the turnstile click behind you or first set sight on floodlights creeping out over terraced housing, and your heart starts to beat faster. Well, you know what it feels like. And that’s why we do it; travel the lengths we travel, spend the money we spend, focus so much emotional energy on a team that never bloody wins anything.
Trying to send a text message walking out the stadium, physically shaking with adrenalin. The feeling when nothing else matters: Who cares, we beat them and did you see that goal?! Yes, I’m no philistine and there are so many things in life that transcend football, of course there is. But that feeling, that feeling! If you’ve felt it you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t? I hope that one day, you will.