QPR 1 – 1 Coventry City
Loftus Road, January 10th, 2009.
As you’ve probably guessed from the picture, there wasn’t much to say about this match. Actually, sometimes there is nothing much to say about football. You spend your 30 quid on a ticket and sit in subzero conditions and watch. Then the match is over and you go home. Your life is neither enriched nor damaged by the whole thing; it just was what it was. Your life remains the same. And so try as I might, I simply could not find an interesting thing to say about QPR’s drab 1-1 draw with Coventry City. It was practically a non-event.
It’s moments like this that I wonder why we spend time looking for the bigger meaning or subtexts or themes in sport. It’s games like this that make me think that maybe there is just nothing to say. Coventry got a goal from a free kick taker who was wise to the the QPR goalie’s poor positioning, and QPR equalized with a header that came from a moment of indecisiveness between goalkeeper and defender. That’s it. 1-1.
But you tell yourself to wait and not be so dismissive. Maybe something around the game will give you a story to tell. Like the idiot Coventry fan who chose to sit with the QPR fans (the more moderate section, but home support nonetheless), and cheer like an idiot and taunt like an idiot when Coventry scored. He actually had the courage to turn around and flip the bird (one on each hand) to the ranks of QPR supporters behind him. That idiot. He was lucky a steward was on hand to pluck him out of there and toss him into the away end. But part of me wished to see the full effect of his idiocy played out – namely via a kicking out the back of Loftus Road – just to teach him a lesson.
And sadly this is all I can take from this match. Fan idiocy. But more specifically, football fan idiocy; that heady mix of seen-it-all-before nonchalance and ‘I’ve been going to games for 30-odd years’ arrogance, with a dash of self-loathing for good measure. After all, the majority of footy fans live to see one or two truly great moments in their lifetimes. The rest, I suppose, has to get taken up with playing a game of chicken with the opposing fans, just to keep things interesting, or something.
There’s no bigger meaning here. Just a simple, short lesson, which is this: when at the football, on a bitterly cold day, with the home team playing pub footy, and the away team (who you support) scores, keep your arse on your seat, your hands in your pockets and your mouth shut. Or sit in the away end. (It works in reverse as well, so it’s actually two lessons for the price of one). And that’s all there is to say about that.