Tuesday, 28 May 2019

My ultimate betrayal - confessions of a fan in Europe Part 3

The day before the West Ham game, when we'd arranged to sell our tickets, I was responsible for nearly killing our dog.

This was Black Friday, years before it was coined for commercial gain. All my options had run out, and I had to try and face up to the fact that I wasn't going to be in Copenhagen next week singing One Nil To The Arsenal, where I was destined to be. If there was any justice in the world, that's where I would be. I deserved it, I needed it, I so wanted it. There would be a huge, gaping hole in my life without Copenhagen. It felt like there was no meaning to any of this without it.

Clearly an emphatic shift had occurred in my life as a fan. My whereabouts hadn't been a factor in the outpouring of emotion after York, say, and equally when Arsenal won the title in the last minute at Anfield, I screamed and jumped around like a maniac all alone in my bedroom. This was all before I started going to matches regularly, when live games home and away had me on edge as ever.

At least when I was in the pub for the Final, I would only be grieving over one thing. When I took our cocker spaniel, Sam, over the fields, I was gloom-laden and resigned to my dark fate. I let Sam off the lead and sat looking into the distance like some broken hearted character in Home and Away except not on a beach, brooding over what had once been but now wasn't. 

Next thing I knew, I was looking up from my sorrows to see Sam  across the other side of the field, plodding along the same road we'd entered the field from, blissfully ignorant to the cars either side of him that had mercifully slowed down. I suddenly jumped into life and caught up with him on the other side of the road. It was unusual of him to volunteer his return home. Perhaps it was the company. Would a dead family pet at the hands of me put Copenhagen into perspective, or would it simply have added to the misery?  

I'll never know, although I am certain a Part 4 to this never-ending journey is coming.                    

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