I know all there is to know about the crying game. Rod Stewart didn’t record that chart hit of the 1960’s, but he may as well have done. Last night Rod was reduced to tears at watching his beloved Celtic beat Barcelona in the Champions League. Football can make grown men cry. Even rich grown men.
Be honest. Football must have reduced you to tears at some time in your life.
Stattoman, who is keeping a record of the profit and loss on my selections, says he was a blabbering wreck when Wimbledon beat his beloved Liverpool in the 1998 FA Cup final. In those days, that was a major Cup upset. So I understand the despair, in one way.
Though surely a supporter of Liverpool in the 1980’s was having such a good time of things that one defeat, even in a Cup final, shouldn’t have been enough to warrant tears.
Now, if your team lost TWO Cup finals at Wembley within the space of weeks of each other… then I couldn’t understand a grown man crying. For I was that man.
In 1993 my boys played Arsenal in both the League Cup and FA Cup finals at Wembley. The latter went to a replay, so I found myself watching three pretty awful Cup finals in the space of no time. And, with a penalty shoot out only moments away, Arsenal won in the last seconds of extra time.
I wish I could now find the Arsenal fan who, outside Wembley, patted me on the head in a very patronising fashion and said: “Never mind son, you’ll be back.”
Instead of saying: “No we won’t.” I should have simply kicked him where it hurts. That would have been more satisfying.
Comments like “you’ll be back” apply to the likes of Arsenal. But if you support a club like Sheffield Wednesday, you just know that opportunities to win FA Cup finals may only come along once in a lifetime.
Liverpool fans are clearly moved to tears often. Even in the days when the team were doing well.
Glenn, known as Frankel’s Bitch on Twitter, speaks of another tear inducing moment watching the Reds: “When Xabi Alonso scored the equaliser in the 2005 Champions League final and our ‘keeper Dudek made that incredible double save from Schevchenko.”
Another keen punter Martin, known as Betting Portal on Twitter, says that he has been reduced to tears twice. Once when his son was born and again, as he puts it, “when I went to Stamford Bridge for the first time in five years.”
Jamie Devine meanwhile, like Rod Stewart a Celtic fan, told me that he also got all emotional at the sensational victory by Neil Lennon’s team. He says he cried… “last night when Tony Watt scored the second goal and I actually believed we might win against Barcelona.”
So there you have it. A small sample that proves football can reduce you to tears whether you win or lose. People who don’t get football will never understand that.
But for the majority of us sensible folk, football is, as Rod once sung, “in my heart.”
Everyone thought he was singing about one of his many blonde lovelies. He wasn’t.
The men among us may not have been lucky enough to share some of Rod’s women, but we share his love of the game that can make us reach for a shoulder to cry on. Or, if you are of a certain age, a good old handkerchief.