Following my Latin debate with Noel Gallagher the other week, I've found it liberating to admit that I follow Spurs in the Premier League. I'm sure for years I will have to qualify it with this disclaimer:
I, Max Rushden, am a Cambridge United fan. I had a season ticket for 15 years, went to some terrible away games, and a lot of terrible home games, and some quite good games, too. My Dad is a Spurs fan. That was his local side when he grew up. So I follow Spurs. It's rare that they ever play each other. But if they did, I'd want Cambridge to win.
Please etch that somewhere so I can freely talk about liking Spurs without getting abuse. In fact, if I'm honest the team I care about the most is my Saturday team: Polytechnic 5s. I'd rather play than watch.
Anyway on Sunday, I was excited about the prospect of Spurs going to City and felt they could get something out of the game, especially with Roberto Mancini's boys missing Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure.
I'm now 32, which means a lot of my friends have babies, or even toddlers. So I watched the game in my flat with four mates interested in the game, two mothers not interested in the game, one mate's girlfriend sitting in the corner knitting, and four babies interested in stealing the remote control and banging things on the coffee table - not ideal for my hangover.
When Joleon Lescott put City 2-0 up, I let out an involuntary expletive. A bad one. I'm not anti-swearing, but there's a time and a place. Football on the telly = swearing okay. Toddlers in the house = swearing not okay. My brain went for the former. Mistake. As soon as I said it, every eye was on me. I apologised.
When Gareth Bale made it 2-2, I made a loud noise. I didn't swear. But it was a loud enough yelp to scare the kids. There's something quite eerie about four under twos staring at you wide-eyed. But it was okay. I think.
When Jermain Defoe couldn't quite reach that ball, I was stunned into silence. No babies were affected.
When the full time whistle went, I stared Jonty (10 months) in the eyes, thought about it, and just said "dammit, dammit, dammit". My tone was more resignation than anger. He was mildly transfixed, and right on the beat looked at me and said "dammit".
I was surprised. I didn't really think he could talk. His mother was less surprised and not wholly amused. I like to think his father found it funny, but for parenting-responsibility reasons, frowned. I felt a little silly.
Perhaps the moral of the story is to keep football and babies separate. Or just have a bit more self-control. I guess Jonty will learn how to say dammit eventually, so why not now? Get ahead of the rest! He lives in Cambridge. His dad is a Cambridge fan. He'll be a Cambridge fan. He'll have lots of reasons to say it.
Have a good week,