Last weekend I did something I’d never done before: I watched a football match. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve never even watched one on TV before. I’ve been in rooms with TVs on which matches have been playing, but I would have been looking at my phone or reading a book, or leaving in disgust. I don’t really get football.
However, I quite like the idea of supporting a small local team. Who knows, maybe it’s possible that the experience would open my eyes to the joy of the sport. I mean, it’s not likely, but I like to keep an open mind about these things. After having consulted with P, we decided that Stenhousemuir was a nice, small (i.e. not very successful) team and it would be fun to go see one of their matches.
So on Saturday afternoon, we did just that. We caught the train to Larbert and walked to their stadium, Ochilview park, where they were to play Brechin City. It turned out that this match was actually quite important to the team because depending on how it went, they could end up getting moved down to a lower league.
We paid entry, bought hot dogs* and coca-cola, and took front row seats that were just about in the sunshine. Saturday was glorious for weather and there were only about 20 seats in the stadium that were in the sun – the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the shade. So, it was lucky that we arrived relatively early because the stadium was surprisingly full by the time the game started.
Honestly, I had some trouble following the match. We were level with the pitch, which meant it was kind of hard to see what was going on, and especially when several players were trying to get to the ball at the same time, I wasn’t always sure who had just kicked it. Plus, since I’m not super familiar with the game, I wasn’t always clear on what they were trying to do, and whether or not they’d succeeded (except, y’know, when people scored). I figure as you see more football, certain events become more predictable and it gets easier to keep track of what’s going on. You probably also don’t get as distracted by birds as I did.
Anyway, it was quite good fun. The opposition supporters (all 20 of them) had all shown up wearing Hawaiian shirts and did a lot of singing, so that was pretty hilarious. The home supporters didn’t sing a lot but did some good shouting. My favourite insult hurled at a player was “come on ya fat wee bandit!” Ah, Scotland. Oh, and we made friends with some nice Geordies who apparently support Stenhousemuir even though it’s a tiny team nowhere near Newcastle, so that was fun.
In the end, Stenhousemuir didn’t win. They scored one goal, as did Brechin City and apparently this wasn’t enough, so they won’t get to play in the same league next season. I felt bad for them, but I enjoyed the match enough that I think we’ll go see them again. I’m not quite at the point where I’m buying a t-shirt, but I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.
*I have since been told I should have bought a pie. I will do this next time.