Watching the Champions League Final and preparing to renew my season ticket made me ponder the question; “Can you support a football club without liking football?”
I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the Champions League final; as previous Chelsea v Manchester United encounters have been soporific. I also find it kind of depressing that one country should dominate a Europe-wide competition. In addition I rarely watch Premiership football and sensed a certain amount of relief that England are not participating in Euro 2008.
Firstly, the hyperbole gets me down. Yes, the Champions League Final was a great game, but it wasn’t representative of top flight football. My dad claimed that the Portsmouth v Cardiff Cup Final was ‘as bad as it promised to be’… to which I pointed out that it wasn’t as bad as the 2007 final between supposedly superior teams. Quality does not equal entertainment in football as much as the marketing tells you otherwise.
Secondly, top flight football has a level of tactical sophistication I can barely comprehend. It’s like Formula 1 racing – on the surface nothing ever happens, but someone wins in the end.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer want to see Oxford playing in the top flight again. If we do, it will mean that we’re either being humiliated or we’re owned by a remote billionaire set on developing our brand for the global market place.
Perhaps it’s that the Premiership is unobtainable. Although, the recent experience of Reading and Hull, teams we’ve shared a league with in the last 1o years, suggest perhaps this isn’t true. But, if before I die, Oxford are playing in the Championship and we make a cup final (or even semi-final), I will be fully sated.
This might be a lack of ambition and one day I may find myself trekking to some Enormodome to see us lift the Champions League, but I think that it’s more likely that I’m de-coupling with a football brand I struggle to engage with.