I was born the second daughter to a football nut father. The second of two girls. The second non boy to not take to Sunday 5-a-sides and to not bore to death with the story about the time he nearly trialled at Charlton.
The lack of male offspring caused our dear old pops to teach my sister & I to have an appreciation for the beautiful game. Alongside our Take That & Spice Girls posters sat the Man United team photo, fixture lists & pull out A3's of Gary Pallister. Yep. I was totally obsessed with Mr P. Still am truth be known.
I owned the infamous black & yellow away kit and wore the collar up like I was Cantona. My sister to this day still reads the paper back to front. We still enjoy a Jipp Japp Stam chant & hold the Sherringham years fond in our hearts.
Over time we may not have always been interested in the match on the TV, or even United's current league position, but we've learnt the rules. The rules one must abide by in the presence of a football watching man.
With a month of late nights, tears, screams and rage ahead of us, I thought it was about time my sister & I, with the help of a couple of male mates, imparted some of our wisdom. A little list for the unassuming females of the world who have significant others to deal with during this very special time.
So here it is....
The Girl's Guide To The World Cup.
- Don't make plans. Any plans. Don't assume that if he's booked time off work it will be to spend time with you. Wrong. Also don't think that he'll only be interested in watching the England matches so you'll only loose him for 3 nights of the tournament. Again, wrong. All matches. Everyday.
- When they don't want to partake in the plans you have already made, don't ask them what's more important 'Football or Me?'. This month, nobody wants the real answer to that question.
- Every match is vital. And not just the match. The lead up show is just as crucial and will require just as much silence and lack of distraction. He'll use this time to get half cut on his World Cup beers.
- Never under any circumstances speak when Ian Wright is speaking. Join in abusing Adrian Chiles.
- Don't think it's OK to judge a team based purely on attractiveness of players. Yes, the Italian side are a pretty bunch but come Saturday night your head needs to switch from "shag" to "kill" mode almost instantly.
- Feign slight interest. And don't just ask dumb arse questions like,"Where's Beckham?". It's painful for everyone....he's not bringing up the time your family dog died is he? No. So don't mention Sir Becks. Not now, not ever.
- Sit back and relish in watching him fill in his Panini sticker book. Got, got, need.
- Don't mock the roller coaster relationship he will have with Roy Hodgson. He will go from despising him, to worshiping the ground he walks on, to wanting to put his own dad up for adoption and take Roy on instead. Oh and before you ask, Roy Hodgson's the manager.
- Don't you ever DARE say "It's only a game".
- Don't pass comment on, what may seem over exaggerated, reactions to a "beautiful pass" or 'wonder goal' or a nut holding tackle. They might be sitting on a sofa in Streatham, but in their heads they are in Rio. Appease them.
- Start drinking beer. Trust me. It will help.
- Begin to understand the importance of replays. Yes this might be the 8th time he's seen this corner be taken, but seeing it in slow motion, and from that angle will make everything So. Much. Better.
- Take note of the fact that this is the only occasion he'll be able to multi task. He'll be able to watch the match, join in a twitter debate and have cheeky bet all in unison. Mind. Blown.
- Don't pass judgement when England are 4-0 down with 12 minutes to go and he utters the infamous man line 'Well, we never play well for 90 minutes, I fancy we'll still do them'.
- Don't think that because you got Cameroon in the sweepstake at work, they actually stand a chance. If you didn't pull Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Spain, kiss your quid goodbye. And don't constantly ask how Cameroon are doing.
- Try & avoiding asking what the offside rule is during the match - here's a diagram I've drawn for you. Learn it.
- At last but not least - here's this little classic. Today I asked some old mates Dean & Steven what they would most like to add to the list. This was my favourite. By far.
'Don't attempt to engage us in sexual activity whilst a game is on, when Chile are playing Holland I am much more interested in the rampaging full backs than I am in a half hearted attempt at a blowjob'.
Thank god it's only once every four years!