Pining for the beautiful game

I have yet to meet anybody yet who doesn’t like the weekend.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:00 pm

It is fair to say millions of us live for them, using their promise as a carrot to guide us through the drudgery of the week.

For the past 35 years, my weekends have revolved around sport; either playing it - in the days when I didn’t get out of breath walking to the fridge - or watching it.

While I attend football matches less frequently these days, my Saturdays and Sundays are largely dictated by the fixture list.

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If family life permits, I will take 90 minutes out of my Saturday to listen to commentary on my team’s exploits via my smartphone.

As we know, last weekend was different, following the historic decision by many sporting bodies to suspend the fixture programmes following fears around the spread of coronavirus. Not having professional football in March is not something any fan can comprehend but only the completely unreasonable among us will argue it was the wrong decision.

We don’t know how many more weekends like last we will have to endure, although it might be the making of us. It might prompt millions of us to discuss something else while making a brew at work or remind many that there are plenty of other things to do on a Saturday evening than listen to Dave from Dagenham decry the tactical shortcomings of his team’s overpaid manager. We might even get used to the fact that Gary Lineker and his panel of experts (at stating the obvious) won’t be bringing us Match of the Day, although that might be easier to digest if the BBC replaces it with something other than Mrs Brown’s Boys again.

Last Saturday’s airing of the laughless Irish ‘comedy’ in the prized MoTD slot was a slap in the face to those already reeling at missing their weekly fix of the Beautiful Game.

None of us have any idea how long we will be stuck in this surreal state of semi-limbo but it would be a lot more bearable for footy obsessives like me if we could lose ourselves in the agony of yet another dramatic season, rather than worrying about whether three jars of pesto is enough to see us through a crisis.