Dom Joly: I feel betrayed... My best friend has started to like football

Now, like some rabid missionary, he was trying to get me to come over to the synthetic-shirt brigade

Share
Related Topics

Ican't believe I'm telling you this," My friend leant forwards conspiratorially over the table. He looked furtively around the bar. "The thing is... I've started to like football." I was gobsmacked. I couldn't believe it. How could he do this to me? He was always the ally who stood tall by my side as we poured scorn on the chosen game of tattooed hairdressers. When anybody asked who we supported, he would look as equally revolted as I. They never asked: "Do you like football?". There was just always that matey assumption that you had to support someone. Now, here I was, midnight in a hotel lobby bar in west London, with my friend doing the equivalent of telling me that he had started hanging around outside schools. I took a deep breath.

"How did this happen?" I tried to sound calm but my voice cracked noticeably.

"I guess it was work. I was the only one who didn't care about the game and everybody was always talking about matches in the mornings and I just got drawn in I suppose." I looked at him with ill-disguised contempt.

"Let me get this right," I said. "You've started liking football because the people you work with like it. What if they were all into Satanism, would you go for that too?"

"I'd definitely give Satanism a go," he replied. "I did a ouija board once..."

"So, what do you watch – internationals, club games, women's football?" I said.

"I've got a team I support." I looked at him without saying anything for a long time. I felt a little sick.

"You've... got a team? How... who?"

"Fulham. I support Fulham."

"Why?"

"Because they're my local team."

"No they're not, you live about three minutes from QPR." I was actually embarrassed to know where QPR was, but I always cut past the ground on my way to pick up the finest falafels in the known world from the Palestinian falafel bloke in Shepherd's Bush market.

"Yeah, but... they're rubbish."

"So, you just decided to support Fulham... just like that? Have you been to a game?"

"Yes, three weeks ago."

"What? Who with?"

"Somebody from work."

"And did you enjoy it?"

"Yes, we had a corporate box and you could eat and watch the game and it was great."

"I can't believe this, what do you want me to say to you? Well done? Maybe you want me to get up and start running around this bar pretending I'm an aeroplane before putting my shirt over my head and kissing you like a girl, do you?"

"No... I just like it. I was listening to a game on the radio before I came out."

"On the radio? What, in the car?"

"No, at home..."

"Why didn't you watch it on the telly?"

"Because Susan was watching something so I went into the kitchen and listened to it on the radio."

"I think you're mentally ill."

"We won... we're in the final in Hamburg."

"I honestly couldn't care less."

"I'm going to the final... in Hamburg."

"What? Three weeks ago you get into football and now you've signed up to become a roving international hooligan? What are you going to do? Get there early, get smashed, sing songs about Hitler and then throw loads of plastic chairs at the riot police while goose-stepping?"

"It's not like that... it's all very civilised... my friend works for a sports management company and we're going in their jet."

The waiter interrupted us and asked whether we'd like any more drinks. I ordered a triple vodka and lime and had a strong urge to smoke.

"You can come if you like. You'll love it," he said.

I saw red. It wasn't bad enough that he had been converted but now, like some rabid missionary, he was trying to get me to come over to the synthetic-shirt brigade.

"You must be bloody joking. There's not a hope in hell. You know that it's one of my 'things' – the fact that I've never been to a football match – it's my 'Never Seen Star Wars' thing. I hate football. I hate football players with their stupid, highlighted haircuts, ludicrous tattoos and oversized shiny watches. I hate football supporters with their pit bulls and tattoos and xenophobia..."

"What is it with you and tattoos?"

"I hate them... don't tell me you've got one."

"No, of course not," he said.

"Thank Christ for that."

Suddenly a drunk Sloane stumbled towards us..."Sccuuuse me... are you Don Jolly?"

"Please go away, we're in the middle of a conversation," I said.

"Orrreally, what about?"

"Football," said my friend.

"Ohh coooool, who do you support?"



I hate snooker as well, except when I can't sleep – it invariably puts me straight out. I'll probably find out one of my kids has decided to take it up professionally soon...

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager - Events, Digital, Offline

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager (Events, Digit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A woman walks past a pro same-sex marriage 'Yes' banner hanging in the window the Green Party's office in Dublin on 21 May 2015.  

Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum: A whole nation will now decide if I should be an equal citizen

Ross Golden Bannon
The day that Britain resigned as a global power  

The day that Britain resigned as a global power

Fareed Zakaria
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable