I don’t write about football here very often.
But, bear with me…
To be honest, I find it difficult to be a football fan these days. The horror that is the administration of Scottish professional football leaves me cold. English football, while being partly funded by a BBC that keeps its Scottish equivalent on a starvation diet, is happy to fix the sport that the license-payer supports in collusion with the broadcasters.
The administrators of European football come up with garbage that leads to tweets like this –
. @EuropaLeague this is a disgrace. This is what our fans will have in the final.
You are killing football, by preventing fans from attending.
Hang your heads in shame. pic.twitter.com/tAlYlhibcB
— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) May 6, 2018
And talking of horror, let’s keep FIFA – the “guardians” of world football – well out of this for once.
And yet. And, yet.
I can’t entirely kick the habit. There’s still the memory of that Little Ricky that was born in Aberdeen, whose favourite colour was red, whose first televised game featured the Dons playing in their beautiful 4-3-3 early-eighties formation.
My first live game was Aberdeen playing Hibs in Edinburgh and clinching the League title. And that night watching them beat Real Madrid in Gothenburg to lift the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg, me and a big teddy bear clad head-to-toe in Dons gear, every TV and radio in the house going, The European Song on the record player, all the windows open to a beautiful Scottish spring day…?
Yeah. They can’t take Alex Ferguson’s Gothenburg Greats away from me. Thirty-five years later – 17-odd of them in the US, the majority of them disappointing, football-wise –, Aberdeen are still the team I choose to suffer with. And Alex Ferguson left the Dons to manage Manchester United just under thirty-two years ago.
But still –
Little Ricky would hate to hear about the architect of some of his happiest moments having a rough time. Haemorrhagic #stroke survivor Ricky’s heart goes out to #AlexFerguson and his loved ones. Get well soon, Fergie.
— Ricky Monahan Brown (@ricky_ballboy) May 5, 2018
Fergie suffered a brain haemorrhage on Saturday, at 76. Understandably, it was big news. And then, things went quiet. That’s understandable, too. After a serious brain bleed, all that a patient’s loved ones can do in those early days is wait. In my case, Mrs Stroke Bloke waited through the emergency surgery, and worried and waited for news. Among the early snippets of encouragement that came her way was the message that it was good that I was on the younger side –
If I’d been older, I’d have been dead already.
So, although – generally and specifically – survival is about luck above all else, it’s probably a good thing that Fergie is generally considered to be a stubborn git. Even if the piece in that link does include stories of his thoughtfulness for people going through the sort of things he and his family are experiencing now.
And if his life is anything like his time at United, one can imagine that a big metaphorical assistant referee somewhere is holding up a board granting him as much time as he needs to get done what he still needs to get done.