That Magical Night
Saluting absurdity in football’s nether regions
Many would have us believe that English football – perhaps all of football worldwide – achieved its climactic crescendo on Wednesday May 26th, 1999, when Manchester United scored two jammy late goals to cap a relatively dull Champions League final and scoop the jug-eared, uh, jug. Chief proponent of this theory is, of course, that bastion of journalistic impartiality and integrity: Clive Tyldesley. As he is prone to holler at us five times an evening, every Champions League evening: no-one could forget “that magical night”, could they?
Well, we could.
We stand against all the histrionics, melodrama, hyperbole and general bullcrap that surrounds the game at the highest level. We know that football is really about freezing your ass off on a Tuesday night in Darlington sipping watery bovril while some reprobate with outlandishly long nasal hair screams “OFFSIDE!” every time the ball enters your half. Those, we say, are the magical nights.
Because ultimately, football isn’t about the football. It is about that bloke with the nose-bush, about the guy who smells like a toilet and has been to every away game you’ve ever attended, about the grotesquely overweight guy in a Fat Boy Party Animal shirt who organises the coaches. Not to mention the hellish trip on the way up, the napalm-like pie innards, and the mocking you’ll get when you arrive home at 1am having surrendered an early 1-0 lead to lose 3-1.
We salute the absurdity behind the facade of professionalism. And semi-professionalism. And (with a nod to ourselves) the amateurs.