Football – give it a chance!

Football is an interesting subject; it’s one that divides opinions between those who love it and those who hate it. It’s fair to say that it’s the marmite of the sporting world. Me? Well I’m very firmly a lover of football, and I think I know why some are haters.

I admit I never used to like football for a long time. I had already lived through three World Cups and during all of them I had never really paid any attention to the coverage on TV. I didn’t understand why the other male members of my family could be so entertained by it.

That was all to change when, at the age of 10, my dad took me to watch Yeovil Town play Crewe Alexandra at Huish Park stadium. I wouldn’t say I was instantly hooked but it did give me an insight into what made the sport so appealing: the singing and chanting, the roar of disapproval every time the referee made a bad decision and the deafening cheer when a goal was scored.

The atmosphere was – to me at the time – absolutely incredible. I got to see and hear all the emotion and passion from the players and fans; that was something I didn’t get when I watched it on TV. When you have thousands of people all jumping up and down in ecstasy, it’s hard not to join in. I’ve attended every home match since.

I could not be writing this article at a better time. Having adopted Yeovil Town as my favourite football club, I witnessed them avoiding relegation* for four seasons in a row. Then, last season, something incredible happened. Yeovil were promoted**.

They did it in dramatic style: being involved in the nerve-wracking play-offs. For those who don’t know, the league’s top two teams are automatically promoted and the next four play each other and the overall winner gets promoted as well.

Ed Upson scored the winning goal with five minutes left of the match which secured a place in the final at Wembley. Even non-football fans will probably know that Wembley is the biggest stadium in England, and one of the biggest in the world. To travel there normally would have been a pleasure, to see my football team lift a trophy there was even better.

Because of this quite remarkable achievement, this season Yeovil are playing in the highest league they’ve ever played in: the Championship. And – also quite conveniently for this article – they just played one of their best matches of the season. Away from home, they beat Watford 3 – 0. Even better, I was there!

I can assure you that the eight hour coach trip was made entirely worth it just because of those three magical goals. Those were not the only memorable moments of the day; the electric atmosphere from the loyal fans will also live long in the memory.

Although the day wasn’t completely great – some other Yeovil fans got arrested for releasing a (quite cool-looking) smoke bomb, as can be seen in the video below – it is one of the best away days I’ve ever been on. It’s certainly a worthy advert for football.

So why not come along and see it for yourself? Don’t feed into the temptation of just watching football on TV; go out there and see it live! After all, that’s what gets you hooked. There are a number of local teams who want your support (including the mighty Yeovil Town) and the memories will last with you forever.

Even if football has never really interested you, the incredible atmosphere, the history-making moments and the jubilation shared by all the fans if we win will almost certainly convert you, and leave you hungry for more.

*For those who don’t know, there are four main leagues of football: the Premier League (the top league), the Championship, League One and League Two. The teams with the least amount of points (1 point is given for a draw, 3 for a win) is relegated to the league below. For example, if Yeovil finished bottom of League One then they would suffer relegation to League Two.

**Promotion is the opposite of relegation. The teams with the most amount of points are bumped up into the league above.

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