Am I the only person in the country who is heartily sick of opening a newspaper, any newspaper, to find that the only thing its thirtysomething male columnists can write about, whatever their purported subject, is their team's dismal performance circa 1972 and its effect on their frail adolescent psyches? I might even cynically suggest that peer pressure is such these days that they have to say they were watching Bolton of a Saturday afternoon even when they were really putting the finishing touches to their Airfix models.
Suddenly, it's OK to have a degree and like football. I much preferred it when talk of football between consenting males at dinner parties had to be done sotto voce at the Kettle chips stage before a main course of negative equity, local mugging tastes and rip-off insurance premiums. These days, though, it's socially acceptable in the trendiest of circles to talk football ad nauseam.
Believe me, I speak from experience, for I am married to a New Lad. I suppose I should have read the danger signs when His Royal Hipness admitted that his first record was not some abomination by Hawkwind or even Led Zeppelin (whom, I gather, it's trendy to say you like now) but 'World Cup Willy' by the 1966 England World Cup squad.
However, I married him anyway, so when his team of 'college boys' took on the beer bellies of Balham on Sunday mornings, I was ever the dutiful wife, commiserating or (less frequently) congratulating as required. But football-itis has reached, well, fever pitch recently and I've had enough. It's everywhere you go and in everything you read.
Of course, I don't blame you personally. I even enjoyed your book when the intermittent chuckles from the armchair opposite became too much to bear and I decided to read it for myself, rather than be treated to the edited highlights.
Nor would I be unrealistic enough to suggest a moratorium on football talk. After all, it's the World Cup and everyone in the country is allowed to become an expert on the subject for four weeks every four years. Afterwards, though, all football should be returned to the back pages where it belongs, so that people such as myself aren't confronted with it unexpectedly in restaurant reviews and gardening columns. Yes, but what can you do? Well, as the Pied Piper of hip social trends, your next book should be on trainspotting. I'm sure you have the wit to carry it off, but I doubt whether your many imitators would have the nerve to admit to standing on the end of Reading station for most of their adolescence, even if it were true. Then, just perhaps, it might be safe to pick up a newspaper or converse with the male of the species once again.
Yours ever in hope,
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