I came into this competition to choose an EPL Team with what I thought was an open mind. I was not simply going to look at the table and select the team currently at the top – my goal was to use a set of criteria to slowly eliminate teams before picking one I could root for beginning next season.
Evidently, my approach was a little bit too clinical and more methodical than it should have been. As I have discovered, when choosing a team it is often not about any number of criteria you have painstakingly set out to adhere to. Rather the team and its players will seize you by the throat and complete overwhelm you into submission (see Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch).
From the very outset my meandering was doomed to an epic failure the instant I connected with a team. This all serves to lead me to the other day:
During my lunch hour I was in desperate need of a boost and ducked into a café for a lunchtime coffee. Stepping inside the café I immediately noticed the café was running a Champions League game featuring Chelsea and Benfica. There was a clear feeling of nervous energy within the café that was on the precipice of exploding. As the kindly, older owner made my drink – clearly with one eye on the game – I started up a quick chat about footy. We watch the few minutes while he prepped my latte (in reality he was watching the game and burned himself at least three times without ever taking his eyes of the screen apart from a quick muttered curse. He also handed me something I definitely did not order but that is how difficult it is to pour coffee when a game is on) and our chat ended with him stating the words “Go Benfica” – to the screen, not me.
I smiled, took the caramel drink I had not ordered, snatched a few more seconds of the game and then walked out. The instant I hit the street the words rolled out in a whisper – “Go Chelsea”.
Once a team grasps you, they never let go, they are in your very soul and rooted like an unkillable plant (trust me, as a Canucks fan I know – they were literally on the doughnut I ate yesterday). I can no longer pretend to be totally objective in my search as something has begun to take root.
No longer can I include Manchester United among my list of potential candidates. While I like the team (and Wayne Rooney might just be my favorite player) they are not my squad.
My god…they are not my squad…that means….
I am going to be sick.