Sunday, 2 December 2018

Watching Middlesbrough

I have finally succumbed. Villa and Boro are two of the oldest clubs in the league, but unlike Villa, Boro have never won a major tournament. Middlesbrough is one of those places that never quite seems to succeed. It is often drawn as the epitome of the North: poor, drug-ridden, with high unemployment, and teenage pregnancies. Having lived there, I know a better side to the town, and from loyalty to my Middlesbrough children, I still support the Boro, if only from a distance. So Middlesbrough gets my cheer when they do well.

Boro vs. Villa
Ann in Aston Villa goal
In contrast, Ann grew up in Birmingham. She supported Villa, went to many of their matches, and actually played for Aston Villa ladies' team. When Tommy Docherty, "The Doc", told her she could play for his team anytime she liked, it was still a complement rather than a feminist insult.

Last night, Villa were playing Boro, and the match was being screened by Sky Sport, so I have finally succumbed. To the prompting of my son, Ben, I paid £8 for a day's pass to Sky Sports channels to watch this match with Ann. I anticipated each of us cheering like mad, to support our opposite numbers. Unfortunately, there was not much to watch - certainly not much to cheer about, not if you are a Boro fan. Villa completely outclassed and outplayed them, winning by an easy 3-0. I sat in glum silence as the goals piled up, but Ann is a good sport and didn't openly gloat, although I could see in her eye she was well pleased. Poor old Boro! Perhaps next time...