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When marriage is tested

Posted on 16 February 2009 | 1:02pm

It has been
interesting to see what kind of twittering or Facebook status updating provokes
the most intense responses. Blogging about Boris and the F word started a
lively debate. The stuff I did last week on mental health likewise. But
football remains the Number 1 talking point for the nation I would say. 

As I checked on
my emails last night, I did a status update saying I was thinking of going to
tonight’s Arsenal v Cardiff match at the Emirates, and wondering whether
Burnley fans would see this as adulterous. I know one does not technically or
legally marry a football club but I have been with Burnley longer than I have
been with Fiona (47 and 29 years since first sighting respectively). 

Indeed when I
was discussing the design for the website, the first decisions were that there
should be a claret and blue colour system and Burnley FC should be on the links
page
. So it is important to me that nobody misinterprets my presence at a
Burnley-less match.

I pointed out, in a piece of prebuttal which seemed to do the trick with some
fellow Clarets, that as Burnley play the winners in the next round, and since
our manager cannot attend as he is preparing the squad for tomorrow’s match v
Coventry, I could justify the trip as an unpaid scouting mission. I could phone
Owen Coyle tomorrow and say intelligent things, like Arsenal are good going
forward, that van Persie looks tasty, Cardiff like to get it out wide and they
look a bit shaky at the back.

I had been
thinking for a while about going tonight. It really is a beautiful stadium,
which I usually see from ground level cycling round and round it when training
on my bike (lovely surface). It is also the one closest to our home, virtually
a walk compared with the eight hours driving I clock up for Burnley games. And
I thought it might be fun to wind up Arsenal fans over our 2-0 win over them in
the Carling Cup

Then on
Saturday, who should I bump into at Burnley v Wolves but Cardiff chairman Peter
Ridsdale
? I thought if he can play away when his team’s not in action, so can I.
Then when he said Neil Kinnock was going on Monday and did I fancy joining
them, the temptation grew. Neil is a big Cardiff fan. He has been to a fair few
Burnley games with me, and the fans took to him as a lucky mascot because we
always seemed to win. 

Yet still, something was holding me back.

Perhaps the
status update was a subconscious cry for help and advice. Could I do this?
Could I go on a Monday to see two rival teams knowing that because of a prior
political engagement on Tuesday I would not see my own?

The advice was
mixed. But on balance it seemed to be saying I should go. Then came the

clincher. Fiona reminded me that she is out tonight. Indeed, she is going away
for the night, filming for a TV programme in Northern Ireland. 

So I thought sod
it, if that’s the way yo

u’re going to behave, expecting me to look after myself
and make my own dinner, I’m going to run off with another football club.
Suddenly corporate hospitality in the Emirates boardroom seemed not only right,
but the best way of getting a square meal tonight.

Burnley till I
die. On a full stomach. Scouting report to follow. Marked private, Owen Coyle’s
eyes only.

  • Marcus Dillistone

    Given the 4 hour match-day drive to Burnley versus the proximity of the ‘Emirate’s’, maybe you should help save the planet, go green, and switch to Arsenal. That said, will the journey to see the Gunners be as short as the ‘shrift’ you’re gonna give me?

  • Wera Hobhouse

    follow you on twitter, so went to your blog for some words of wisdom.. So what would a girl get from being married to a football club? Cook the dinner?

  • Gabrielle L-P

    Interesting that in response to your FB posting I asked if you were married to the club and today you are talking about testing a marriage… coincidence or shall I just keep feeding you the lines?
    BTW Marcus I agree…I’m looking forward to the very short shrift heading your way!

  • alastair campbell

    short shrift alert. I’ve warned you about my obsession with apostrophes. Why the apostrophe in Emirate’s. It’s Emirates … not too green I know to name a stadium after an airline. Burnley’s ground is called Turf Moor … how green is that?

  • stewartfinn

    Yes for your own safety and happiness you have to go.

    Lets face it, with your wife away, you would never have knocked yourself up anything that could rival the hospitality at the emirates. I am also sure that us fine people of Northern Ireland will be treating Fiona to fine cuisine and hospitality so its only fair you get your share too.

    All that before the footballing benefits and Burnley scouting mission 🙂 – No brainer.