The curious tales of the armchair supporter. (Note: there aren’t any)
Guys, do me a favour? See that hard earned money you make, please spend it on yourself! Life’s too short, you can’t take it with you. Go and see the world, take the car to the coast, make memories. Forget about sleep, family and friends - they’ll be there when you get back and you can sleep when you’re dead. People often say to me ‘how do you afford all this travel?’ It’s simple really, I don’t spend money on clothes, or 'looking good', I’m not really one for material things - go fucking live your life. For all we know you only get one.
For me football is life. I spend hundreds of pounds going to football games and I love it! The stories I have and the memories I’ve made are PRICELESS. Find that thing that makes YOU happy. Share it with the person/people who make you happy. Be SELFISH!! Genuinely. Being selfish every now and again, trust me, makes you a better person, a better friend, a greater listener and a brighter communicator in the long run. Believe me when I say the people who love you want you to have the best life. If that life is leaving them for a couple of days to enjoy the things you enjoy, they will love you for loving you.
YOU deserve to be happy. Never forget it, never doubt it.
I will continue to travel around the world via the confines of the football ground. Because, I fucking love it!
You, do YOU. Find your happiness. Spend the money, it’s YOURS. YOU earned it. YOU should spend it on YOU and never feel guilty or ashamed to do so.
Money doesn’t make the world go round, but it gets you from A to B. From Glasgow to Madrid, from Prestwick to Hamburg, from Glasgow to Gatwick. From what you wished you'd done, to 'oh, we did that last February'. From where you'd wished you'd been, to 'oh, we've been there and seen that..'.
Travel fulfils the soul. It injects the mind with all kinds of positive energy. Your world is bigger than the town you come from.
Please keep in mind it’s not always possible to travel, I know this more than anyone. The trips I’ve had to cancel, the plans I’ve had to stop researching, the tears I’ve shed because I can’t afford it. However, you can watch that YouTube travel vid, and you can read that book about Canadian sports teams. Also, there are tons of things you can do around your city. Stories you never knew! Things that make you, who you are. Things that will open you’re eyes. So make sure you travel around your own city because it will impart wisdom like no Netflix show or YouTube video ever can.
Open your eyes. Get out of the house. Move away from the TV. Expand your mind. Explore you city, explore your world, explore your passion. Explore your happiness. Explore YOU.
On a recent trip to London I received a message from my cousin, whom I have spent many football adventures with. He asked me "Why do you go to the game when it’s on the telly?". Put it this way if I didn’t go to the game I could never have said I was at Wembley the day Harry Kane became Tottenham Hotspurs highest Premier League goal scorer.
If I didn’t go to see the Philadelphia Eagles last Autumn at Lincoln Financial Field, then I could never say I’ve seen a team that’s won the Superbowl. I was part of that season. Albeit a small part.
If I didn’t wake up at 5am to stand in a queue, in a field, for 6 hours to wait to get into Wimbledon the year Andy Murray won the tournament for the first time then I couldn’t say I was a part of that either.
If I didn’t go to see the Red Sox play against the Kansas City Royals in October 2016 then I couldn’t say I seen David Ortiz play in his final season of baseball.
Don’t be an armchair supporter. Get out there and get involved.
Sean Hanlon is my best friend and I love the boy to bits. Sean doesn’t make all the money in the world, but he’s living his best life because he does what HE WANTS. Call it selfish all you like, I call it self preservation and happiness. He sets an example to myself and others that you don’t have time to waste searching for your best life. He works all week and more often than not gets up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday or Sunday to travel to some other city in the UK to watch men, more well off financially than him, kick a ball round a field for 90 minutes. Now for some of you that’s the height of nonsense, and I understand if your not a fan of the beautiful game, but you can’t knock the boy, he found the thing he loved and he pursues his passion every weekend, and even most week days.
I was recently asked by my friend Emma, "How do I think having a season ticket (at Celtic Park) has influenced my fandom?" And my answer was simple:
"It's just being there, that's what it's all about."
I told her how important it was that I was able to say that "I was there when..."
I was there when Nakamura scored THAT free kick against Manchester United, I was there the night we won THAT penalty shoot-out against Spartak Moscow, I was there the day Henrik Larsson played his final game in Paradise - I cried onto my Dad's shoulder. Being there means that I got to see all those special wee moments that gave me pure joy. I explained that these moments, and the stories that make up these special moments, are the one's that connect us. It doesn't matter what age you are, what gender you identify as, what sexuality you are - if you're a Celtic fan (or a fan of any other team) then you will always have a connection to someone, no matter where you are in the world, if that person has the same passion for your team.
This may be the best it ever gets for me. Traveling to grounds on the cheap may well be the greatest luxury I ever have. I intend to take it! Rather, I intend to enjoy it.
Fuck sitting at home watching the game, I'd much rather be in the stands; making memories, seeing the world, meeting new people. Life is a gift, and if you are lucky enough to have your health then it is not something that should be endured from the couch.
Supporter of Glasgow Celtic, member of United Glasgow FC and a keen writer.
"The day that I decided, you're the best team I ever seen"