Ollie: It is Saturday April 16th 2016, and we’re about an hour out from the early kick-off in the Premier League. But this weekend is a little different… I’m watching it with my girlfriend Liz. And not just this game, every game that is on Sky Sports and BT Sport. And Match of the Day. Why, you ask? Well for one I see people doing James Bond or Lord of the Rings marathons, and I wonder if the same excess has been done with a Premier League weekend. Maybe some people do watch every game at weekends, but to be honest I wouldn’t go past the extreme of maybe three (but don’t tell Liz that). The other reason I was interested in doing this is as a social experiment. Liz isn’t a football fan, and a lot of people would say she doesn’t like football simply because she’s a girl, but it’s not that simple. I know a lot of girls who like football, so can it still be explained as a gender thing these days? Not really, no. Is it just personal preference? Upbringing? Or, if presented in the right social situation, could anyone – even, Liz who has never watched or shown any interest in football – enjoy a weekend of it? Watching football with mates, going to the pub, all the stuff you usually do, just to the extreme by watching five games plus MOTD in a time period of around 60 hours. When I put it like that, I’m genuinely shocked that Liz agreed to this actually. Premier League Gameweek 34 has a decent array of games though: a relegation scrap, a big-money clash, a potential title decider, an all-London affair… and even my team Tottenham playing on a cold night in Stoke. It could be fun. It could also be the end of the relationship.

Liz: For all my sarcastic remarks (which began pretty much from the moment Ollie suggested this idea to me), to my surprise I’m actually kind of looking forward to this weekend. But I do have a confession to make that concerns me: football sends me to sleep. I can’t help it – the sound of the crowd mixed with the droney commentating, combined with being on a comfy sofa with a cup of tea, is like a trigger for me. As a result, I can’t say I’ve watched many football games in my time. My Mum’s ex boyfriend used to take me to Fulham home games as a sort of bonding exercise. I spent the 90 minutes finding good looking players in the brochure and trying to locate them on the pitch. I don’t know what it is about football, but even when I hear people discussing it, it’s like my brain switches off. I can’t help it. As a consequence, I know literally nothing about football. I’m not a football shirt wearing ladette; I still play Pokemon on my Nintendo DS. My cat has an Instagram page. What can I say? I’m intrigued to give it a go, and I love my boyfriend. I also love pizza! And I have been promised pizza…

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Suck up brunch on Saturday ahead of the Norwich City vs Sunderland match

GAME 1: NORWICH CITY VS SUNDERLAND. SATURDAY, 12:45PM
Ollie:
 Pulling out all the stops in the build-up with brunch to try and distract Liz from the fact that the opening game of her worst nightmare weekend is Norwich City vs Sunderland. I’m supposed to be getting her into football, it’s seems unfair that this is the first match… Still there is some relevance – our first weekend away together (technically) was in Norwich, where we got to see one of my University friends knock out both his front teeth doing the worm in a club, but I digress… Only slightly hungover from last night, I make some eggy bread / French toast with brioche, maple syrup, fruit and whatnot. She’s wearing an Irish rugby shirt, evidence that I have gotten her into a sport before, so I do have some hope… After brunch there’s still about half an hour until the game. I suggest teaching her how to play FIFA 2016, to which she responds, “there’s only so much football I can watch in one weekend. Fake football is not in that quota”. This whole football thing might be a trickier sell than I thought…

Liz: I think my biggest challenges will be not having a clue who anyone is, what’s going on, and not falling asleep. So, an easy ride then. Ollie bought me popcorn. Perhaps he’s trying to trick me into feeling like I’m watching a movie of sorts. He also made me breakfast, which I assume is to start the weekend with me in a good mood. The first game is a relegation scrap apparently, whoever wins won’t get relegated, or maybe they both will get relegated anyway… or something. Wait, so I have to keep track of how this effects other teams other than just these two? Seems like a lot of effort… This pre-game build-up seems a bit dry – there’s an interview with a guy called John Ruddy, even he sounds bored. Zzzzz… No! I must stay strong, time for a cup of tea. I feel a bit like I’m doing a 48 hour sponsored sit-in… Wait! I should have been sponsored for this. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?!
The game begins!

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The first (and last) enthusiastic photo of the weekend, during Game 1

Ollie: The first photo of us from the weekend makes me laugh because we both look so full of hope. I wonder how long that will last… Anyway, on the plus side Michael Owen isn’t commentating today, but we do have to put up with Robbie Savage instead. I’ve gone with the tact of explaining football games and teams in relation to Liz’s favourite TV series, Game of Thrones (luckily Sky Atlantic already did this for me in an advert). Liz wonders aloud why so much of the game is taking place in the ‘middley bit of the pitch’, and she thought that Jermain Defoe was an actor… She’s a big fan of nutmegs, but not of diving. She asks if this happens a lot, and I avoid making eye contact when deflecting the question. With both teams not really wanting to lose, I worry that this is a 0-0 game to kick off what is a risky weekend on my part. I can already hear the crowd chants at my expense – “You’re getting dumped in the morning! You’re getting dumped in the morning…”

Liz: 3 minutes in and someone falls over and next thing there’s a fight going on with someone called Big Sam! Big Sam looks scary. Like a big, grumpy penguin. I would not mess with him. That was pretty exciting. I hope more people annoy Big Sam. More fights would definitely make the game go quicker.  I overhear a commentator saying that Norwich have started well, but nobody has scored anything yet. Football managers always look so angry. I wonder why they’re all so angry? Maybe it’s because they have to watch so much football… They’ve been my favourite thing about the game so far. More shots of Big Sam. Big Sam is my new hero. My Stannis Baratheon, glowering from the sidelines. Why is everyone clapping for a corner? Save your claps for actual achievement, guys. Raise your expectations. Jermain (which for some reason autocorrects to ketamine on my phone) fell over and got some kind of free kick, and I’m very sceptical. A man with an ironic heart on the back of his head kicks someone in the shin, leading to a penalty. The heart guy is called Wisdom too, doubly ironic! The Sunderland guy who got kicked is actually fine and scores a goal. Something happened!! Finally! Big Sam is pleased, so I am too.

Norwich City and Sunderland players clash, with Liz's new man crush Sam Allardyce in the centre of the confrontations

Norwich City and Sunderland players clash, with Liz’s new man-crush Sam Allardyce in the centre of the confrontations

Ollie: A Fabio Borini penalty gives Sunderland a surprising 1-0 lead at half-time. Surprising because that means the game already has one more goal in it that I expected. The players go off, and Liz voices her concern that they’re now going to swap sides just as she’s got used to the directions they were playing. She seems to be a big fan of Sam Allardyce. Second half kicks off and this game is in danger of being genuinely exciting, lots of chances at both ends. This is a relief, as to be honest I don’t know if I’d casually watch Norwich City vs Sunderland live, this had last game of MOTD written all over it when I saw the fixture list. How different this weekend is in so many ways… Defoe gets a good goal, and Sunderland are 2-0 up. Surprised and impressed at how good they’ve been today. In a way this is good news for Newcastle, but would they admit it? Liz questions why fans cheer corners and I explain that it’s because corners are a great attacking opportunity. She observes that Norwich have had 10 corners and Sunderland have had 0, but Sunderland are winning by two goals. I don’t really have a response to that, the finer points of defence and counter-attacking can wait for another time. On the other hand she’s now taken to calling the Norwich goalkeeper Ruddy John because he keeps running too far away from his goal, and is even burning some of the uglier supporters that the camera cuts to – insults already, maybe I’ll make a football fan out of her after all…

Liz: Sunderland bring on a player called Duncan Watmore, he looks about 14! Ollie assures me he’s 22, but I don’t believe that… A few minutes later and Wisdom slaps the 14-year-old in the face, that guy is mean! At 70 minutes in my attention span is waning, so I Instagram a picture of my cat. I find an Instagram account of a cat wearing a tie in his pictures, and the football game melts into the background of my mind. Oh wait, the 14-year-old scored! It must have been that pep talk he had with Big Sam earlier. Big Sam has been a great surprise discovery for me today. I don’t know why they bother with injury time now, it’s 3-0 and everyone knows the result…

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An Arsenal fan, a Chelsea fan and a Tottenham fan… Sounds like the start of a bar joke

GAME 2: CHELSEA VS MANCHESTER CITY. SATURDAY, 5:30PM
Ollie:
With popcorn and snacks everywhere, I guess one way to look at football is that it is a movie where you’re allowed to talk. You’ve got drama, tension, thrills, perhaps even romance if you count Diego Costa and Gareth Barry the other week in the FA Cup. Two mates come over to watch the game at the flat with some beers, one of them a Chelsea fan. Needless to says, he hasn’t much enjoyed the season. It’s weird because if you’d asked me last year, I’d have said that this was the blockbuster of the weekend, and Leicester City vs West Ham tomorrow would be the game I’m dreading to watch. But it has been that kind of season… Both teams start a bit like they’ve got nothing to play for, this is not a good sign for things to come. Liz pops to make another cup of tea about midway through the first half, I genuinely wonder if she’s even gonna come back…

Liz: Ollie suggests to me that football is like a movie except you’re allowed to talk. I counter this with, “well, a movie where nothing happens”, and he doesn’t seem to have a response… Nick and Ollie are ripping on Matt a lot for being a Chelsea fan, apparently they’ve not been doing very well this year. But they won last year. Hmmm, bragging rights really don’t last long in football do they? Chelsea and Manchester City are described to me by Ollie and Nick as being a bit like a Lannister – very rich, but nobody likes them. This game has been dull so far, neither team seems to care. Time to start plotting revenge on Ollie for this football marathon… Everyone is chatting through the game anyway though, so the social aspect of it is fun. More applauding for corner kicks. Have they learned nothing from Norwich City vs Sunderland? I kill a few minutes by making a cup of tea. When I come back, I walk into the room to overhear Ollie slagging off a footballers hairdo. And he calls me a girl…
Sergio Agüero shoots to score yet another Premier League goal for Manchester City in Game 2

Sergio Agüero shoots to score yet another Premier League goal for Manchester City in Game 2

Ollie: Sergio Agüero scores to give the game some life with the help of Kevin De Bruyne – how did Chelsea let him go… This is bad news for my fantasy football team though, as Nick is 2nd behind me at the moment in our league and has Agüero on triple captain this gameweek. To be fair I had him as triple captain when he scored five against Newcastle earlier in the season but still… Winning our league (which is named ‘Keep Calm and Bring on Shola’) has the reward of four crates of beer, so to lose now from a winning position wouldn’t be great. I try to explain the importance of an assist in fantasy football to Liz, but she doesn’t actually know what an assist in football is… Did you know Agüero has never been in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year? Look it up, it’s madness – probably the best player in the Premier League and he’s never been in the team, bizarre. I keep laughing whenever I see Samir Nasri, I’d completely forgotten that he still played for Manchester City. Why does it look like a bunch of seagulls have taken a dump on his hair though? Manchester City looking efficient if unspectacular, Chelsea are appalling today bar some moments at the start of the game. Matt is beginning to question why he even came over as Chelsea just don’t seem to care at all, it’s almost no fun to take the piss out of him about it. Almost.

Liz: We have some sushi during the break, which I feel isn’t standard football fare. The second half starts and I’ve converted Matt to Instagram. Thanks to him my cat likes a lot of Chelsea FC pages. A Manchester City player scores and Nick is pleased because this guy is his fantasy football team captain… Fantasy football? Oh no, the football is everywhere. There is no escape. One thing this second game has showed me is that football does bring people together, even people who don’t support the same team. I mean, Ollie is a Tottenham fan, Matt a Chelsea fan and Nick is an Arsenal fan… awkward! So yes, it’s been lovely, we’ve had sushi, laughs and face-swap selfies. Just like an afternoon in with the girls. Another goal scored but you know, despite the fact that at 80 minutes with this game at 3-0, it has been so boring. Maybe it’s because apparently Chelsea don’t care. But maybe it’s because there were no heroes in this game (Big Sam). Maybe I can write a think piece on how fans of teams feel when they pay for a game and their team obviously doesn’t care. I run this past Ollie, and he says that this would mean I’d have to watch more football. I say that I wouldn’t have to watch football to write a think piece about it, it’s a think piece. I’d just have to think about it. Much easier. Ugh another 4 minutes of extra time?? This is moot. To the pub!

What better way to finish a football day than with lots of football in small chunks?

What better way to finish a day of football, than with even more football in small chunks?

MATCH OF THE DAY. SATURDAY, 10:25PM
Liz: It’s an hour and 20 minutes long?? That’s another bloody football game! And why’s it so late? It goes on till 11.45pm! It’s legitimately late night TV. When I think of late night TV, I think of being 18, drunkenly watching Sexcetera with my friends after a night out. I genuinely can’t remember who won the Norwich City vs Sunderland game! The pizza arrives and Ollie and the pizza guy catch up on the doorstep. How come people don’t just watch highlights on YouTube, is the pundit analysis really worth it? I suppose I do see the point of MOTD though. If I was ever to become a football fan, I would definitely be a fan that just catches up on my team by watching the highlights. All the boring middley pitch stuff between the goals is moot. I quickly hit a wall with my pizza and descend into a food coma, which doesn’t bode well for me staying awake.

Ollie: We get back from some beers at the pub, and I order some Pizza 2 Night for watching Match of the Day. This is a bit of a victory for me, as every time I’ve suggested MOTD to Liz throughout the season she’s always asserted, “oh, it’s not on”, or, “there was a scheduling error”. Curious, it’s almost like she didn’t want to watch it… But not this time! Quite funny to see Gary Lineker though as we often see him wandering about near where we live. Early in the show Liz suggests that it needs a bit of razzle dazzle – it’s been going for like 50 years, I think it is doing fine somehow! I think MOTD proved to be the breaking point for Liz though, the pictures tell the story I feel. The first one is at 10:32pm, full of happiness at the pizza. Ah, how naive I was.

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10:32pm – Big pizza equals big grins

So it starts off promising. Hell, she even beams when Big Sam appeared on the highlights. She also recognises Rafa Benitez during the Newcastle highlights because she grew up in the Wirral, so her school mates usually supported Liverpool, or Everton… or Tranmere. But then the food coma kicks in. The last vestiges of happiness leave and give way to impatience. She asks why we are watching highlights when I was checking the 3pm kick off scores on my phone anyway, and we had watched two of the games live today too. The annoying thing is that Liz is often asking logical questions, to which I can only answer, “because we just do”. We just do watch Match of the Day, I don’t know how to explain, especially after beers. The second photo comes from 11:00pm, as the impatience gives way to anger. I don’t know what’s going to happen now, she is a ticking time bomb of rage. And we still have 45 minutes to go…

11:00pm - The rage sets in

11:00pm – The rage sets in

The third photo comes at 11:28pm, as the fury fizzles out to make way for the inevitable passing out, so ending a whirlwind 56 minutes of swings and roundabouts. She wakes up briefly when the show ends deliriously singing the word, “Lapidus!” (a character in Lost). To be fair at this point the games she missed were West Brom vs Watford and Everton vs Southampton, so it’s understandable. It’s okay, perhaps we can just catch them on Match of the Day 2 tomorrow night… Maybe she’d like that. Then again, maybe I had best get used to single life.

11:28pm - No one should have to watch a Tony Pulls side alone

11:28pm – No one should have to watch a Tony Pulis side alone


GAME 3: LEICESTER CITY VS WEST HAM. SUNDAY, 1:30PM
Liz:
We get a train to go to a sports pub to watch the Super Sunday with Kieran, Robyn and Ria. We get there early and Celtic vs Rangers is on… Woah, woah, woah, this wasn’t part of the deal! I’m watching excess football now! Kieran is another Chelsea fan (they’re everywhere!) and is worried about the crowd atmosphere at Chelsea home games at the moment, and Robyn is a Swansea fan. In fact she even played for Swansea at schools level as a midfielder, so she’s more of a footballer than any of us at the table can come close to! I’ve been told by Ollie that Leicester’s manager is cool. He’s a nice Italian man who was sacked from Chelsea, and Leicester’s last game is at Chelsea, so if they win then he could lift the cup at the Chelsea stadium which would be great! This match is also important and allegedly exciting because Leicester are a little team who are doing so well that they genuinely have a shot to win the league. I love a good underdog story, so I’m emotionally invested. This should help keep me interested. The food in this pub is great too! Ollie says we can watch MOTD2 tonight as I slept through some of last night’s show. I tell him he can do one.

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The first game of Super Sunday. Sunlight just out of shot

Ollie: Who would have thought when this season began that Leicester City vs West Ham would be the game that I’m most excited about this weekend? Leicester City is the perfect underdog tale to entice Liz with, if someone wrote a film like this no-one would believe it plausible, it would be like if Hot Pie won the Game of Thrones. She seems interested which is good. The team sheets are shown with pictures of the players, and I explain the backstory of the big heroes in the Leicester team like Riyad Mahrez – her only note is that she thinks Leicester sub Daniel Amartey looks a lot like a girl. It’s a genuinely sunny day, and we’re going to a pub to watch more football. I feel a bit bad for Liz at this point… what is this feeling? Guilt? I must point out that I’m genuinely impressed how well she’s done so far. Still terrified what my punishment will be though… Pretty Little Liars marathon? I guess it would be fair. I ask her about the punishment and she simply says, “not punishment… retribution”. Yikes.

Liz: For most of the first half we’re all mainly chatting, while watching the game fleetingly. Again, a social event thanks to football which is nice. At 60 minutes, Leicester are 1-0 ahead which is cool. There was a red card but I missed who it was, everyone went really quiet in the pub though, I get the feeling this is quite important. Andy Carroll then scored after that. I like his man bun! Then West Ham score again! Unfortunately that means that Leicester have 5 minutes to score again to get something from this game. They win a last minute penalty to equalise the score, this is genuinely tense, everyone is watching the screen. A player called Ulloa scores it, and I genuinely cheer. I feel hypocritical because I have barely watched the game because of all the eating and chatting I’ve been doing. But if people go to the pub and this is how they watch games, i.e. only paying attention to the good bits, that seems much more sensible.

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Leonardo Ulloa celebrates his last minute penalty that gives Leicester City a potentially crucial point against West Ham

Ollie: Once Vardy scored I assumed this was going to be another routine 1-0 Leicester win. At half-time I explain a couple of the rules of football that Liz is getting to grips with, salt and pepper is as ever crucial to explaining the offside rule. I haven’t seen her on Instagram either so she seems to be enjoying the pub. The second half begins and it seems relatively comfortable, although still an exciting game. But then the Vardy red card happens, which is pretty incredible given the situation – I’m all for diving being punished though, and it seemed like he dived. Nevertheless the penalty that West Ham then won seemed ridiculously soft. Tempers flaring everywhere now. After an insanely good goal from Aaron Creswell, it looks like the bubble might be burst, but fair play to Leicester for the enduring team spirit. And fair play to Leonardo Ulloa for putting that penalty away with basically the last kick of the game, I wonder how important that point will be come the end of the season… So 2-2, and the dream of the most unlikely Premier League win ever lives on! Time for some more Punk IPA to bridge the gap between games…

GAME 4: ARSENAL VS CRYSTAL PALACE. SUNDAY, 4:00PM
Liz:
The game has been on for 6 minutes before I notice that I’m actually watching the rugby on the big screen. The football game is actually on a small TV behind us at the moment. I think I need to buy a coffee. Half-time in the football and I have to admit, apart from checking the score a few times, I have been focused on literally everything apart from this match. Ollie and I shared a Banoffee Mess which was delicious, and we’ve been chatting and watching the London Irish vs Newcastle game as well as the football. Maybe I’m not cut out for watching two football matches in one day. It certainly feels excessive. I think one match is my upper limit for a day. It doesn’t help that rugby is a lot more manly than football, and watching one after the other really highlights that. They move the football to the big screen for the second half. I think Ollie is pissed.
Today has been really nice though, and to be fair football helped facilitate it. If Ollie was to watch football with people in future, I MIGHT come. Might.

Yannick Bolasie celebrates his late equaliser against Arsenal in Game 4

Yannick Bolasie on the hunt for hugs after scoring a late equaliser against Arsenal in Game 4

Ollie: It’s barely 5pm and I’m quite drunk. The afternoon drinking trap strikes again. I forgot to take any photos after about 3pm because you know…. beer. Anyway, the Arsenal game… Errrrrmm, I remember Yannick Bolasie scored a great goal towards the end to make it 1-1 – as a Spurs fan it is always fun to watch Arsenal destroy their title hopes for another season. Liz’s only reaction to the Bolasie goal comes when he’s running in celebration towards manager Alan Pardew, when she says, “Aww go on, get a hug… (*they hug*)… Aww, that’s nice for them”. Liz is also entertained by the bright and often cartoonish colours of the “football shoes” of the various players… known to the rest of us as ‘boots’. Anyway, yes I must admit that I struggle with two football games in such quick succession, I wouldn’t watch two movies in a row… Watching Super Sunday at Inn on Pier at University made it that bit easier because they gave out free hot dogs, but sadly I doubt the same thing occurs so much in London. The rugby did break it up nicely though… And it’s not often you see Newcastle wins in both the football and the rugby in one weekend. I check my fantasy football team and notice that Nick has had a very good gameweek. Liz thinks that it’s silly that I call the weekend of football a ‘gameweek’. She’s probably right, it is a bit silly. After the game we stumble back into the sun to spend the rest of the weekend away from TV screens.

GAME 5: STOKE CITY VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR. MONDAY, 8:00PM
Liz:
I can see it now, the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m running a little late coming home, so I listen to BBC Radio 5 Live sitting on the train. That’s right, I’m not giving Ollie any wiggle room to say that I didn’t commit to this 100%! I’m very happy I can listen to it whilst also doing other things on my phone. How has YouTube on iPhone not evolved to this yet? I am listening to the commentary, but to be honest I don’t know football well enough to visualise what they’re describing. As a result, I connect even less with the game than I would if I was watching it on TV. I want to know what these people look like. I can’t take the word of the commentators. What if I had listened to Norwich City vs Sunderland on radio? I never would have discovered my love for big Sam. Ahhhh! A goal! That was nice to hear. Ollie will be pleased. I feel like I’ve been transported back into the 1950s, listening to the match on the ‘wireless’. Except I bet they had better 3G connection in the 1950s, as I find myself muttering angrily as I lose connection for the third time at Putney.

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Celebrating a Spurs goal in Game 5. It looks a bit like the dog is about to fall into my mouth here…

Ollie: I grab Liz from the station and we head back to hers. I figure out that by this point we have watched about 8 hours of football, and we have another 2 to do… Am I a terrible person for suggesting this whole idea? Plus, haunted by Robbie Savage for the second time this weekend on the radio commentary!? I must admit at the start of the season I was worried about Tottenham – we didn’t seem to buy much, and our squad just didn’t wow me. Happy to eat humble pie here – which is funnily enough something Liz dishes out to me often – as Spurs have been amazing. A good defence, a good attack, it’s been great to watch. Erik Lamela seems to have grown hugely as a player, Christian Eriksen (while probably stronger in the No. 10 role) has worked well with the brilliant Dele Alli thriving. Moussa Dembélé is playing like the player I hoped he’d be when we first signed him… I don’t know what to say, it’s all good to watch. Whatever the outcome, this season has been a great success for Spurs. Leicester City has been the most incredible fairytale story, but spare a thought for how well Tottenham have done with a young and exciting team. Still, 1-0 at half-time worries me a bit because we’ve thrown away wins from this position before…

Liz: To my mind it’s pretty bad luck that there was another game thrown into the Monday as well for me to watch – there I was thinking it was just a conventional weekend! Once we’re back at home, Ollie and I watch the game on my laptop.  I have to admit here that after a long day, I’m struggling to pay attention consistently. But it’s good that Spurs are winning, Ollie seems pleased about it. It’s interesting seeing him watching the team he supports, it’s like when he watches the rugby – all the reactions are suddenly louder. He dances with my dog when Tottenham score a second goal, although I think Poppy was more interested in his food despite his claims that she is now a Spurs fan. Dele Alli’s ‘open goal’ miss right after that is hilarious, his manager isn’t too pleased! I do cheer when the last Dele Alli goal is scored though – this was probably the best goal I saw all weekend actually. Two football related cheers in a weekend!  What have I become?

Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate a goal during their 4-0 victory over Stoke City

Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate a goal during their 4-0 victory over Stoke City

Ollie: Great second half, Harry Kane and Dele Alli both getting 2 goals in the game. I wander who will be in the team next year, if anyone will leave… Either way, it’s great to tie up the long weekend with a Spurs win. Random bit of trivia learned during the game: Liz knew Steven Gerrard’s wife’s cousin in year 9. Random? During the game there are lots of adverts at the bottom of the screen for Premier League games that are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (as it’s a double fixture gameweek for some clubs). I suggest to Liz that we watch those as well – she doesn’t even dignify that with a response. She cheered for Dele Alli’s 2nd goal though, and even cheered again at the end of the game. Was she celebrating the fact that my team won? Or was she cheering the fact that the Premier League weekend was over? I’ll let you decide…
Later in the night while I’m watching The Night Manager, I spot Liz’s cat coughing up a fur ball on my Tottenham shirt. Perhaps he’s an Arsenal fan.

IN CONCLUSION:
Liz:
I’ve watched more football this weekend than I’ve ever watched in my entire life. And I have to admit, it wasn’t dreadful! I saw friends, ate some great food, went to a nice pub – all of which was great! So the social aspect that it facilitates is a definite plus for me. On the other hand, I’ve forgotten most of the rules and the names of any footballers (Big Sam doesn’t count, I presume he has a surname that I need to remember though), and I did fall asleep during Match of the Day. But in my defence, pizza food coma meant that the odds were stacked against me on that one.
Have I become a football fan? I’ll be honest and say no. That’s way too much commitment. I’d have to learn things, remember them, watch games with one eye while also checking other games and how it effects it with the other. I have made huge progress though, as in future I think I would tolerate football being on in the background. Will I ever watch Match of the Day again? If they jazz it up, sure. Would I create a fantasy football team? Well I’ve actually already done that in the past – I was in a league with a bunch of friends a few years ago. My team was called ‘The Manning Spankers’; I picked them basically by player names that I liked, and the best part was that I won that league! And the other guys all watched football all the time! So I’m not sure I want to risk blemishing my perfect win record there… Does my brain still switch off when people talk about football? Absolutely. If I’m going to engage, I need to be watching it. I can’t listen to it on the radio, or about it in build-up or post-match. Will I be dumping my boyfriend? No. What will I make him do to make up for nearly 10 hours that I spent watching football? I still haven’t decided yet….

Ollie: This was an extreme weekend of Premier League football to say the least, but we got through the marathon with our sanity remaining (just about) in tact. I have utmost respect for Liz for giving this baptism of fire a go, and love her very much for it. I get the feeling this may be held over my head for a while though, and she certainly has a good reason to bring up to get out of watching football in future. The most annoying thing is that she brought up some logical things that we never consider because we’re so used to watching football and just accept them. I myself would not watch five games and Match of the Day on a normal weekend, and by the Arsenal game I must admit that I was a bit worn out. On the other hand, we got 16 goals in 5 games which is a great return. We had red cards and last minute scores, wonder strikes and horror misses – I couldn’t have asked for much more than the roller coaster I got squished into this weekend, especially as it was a weekend that introduced Liz to football.
Do I think that Liz will become a football fan? Probably not, I think she views football as this over-the-top obsession that some people (like me) have, and thinks we all act like this David Mitchell football sketch whenever we talk about it. But do I think she’ll be more accepting of watching it as a casual observer? Yes, and I think that’s a small victory that I can take from this. While it may not be the sport for her, the idea of watching sport with friends is the biggest thing she could take from it. The fact is, sport in general is a great social activity, sometimes it isn’t even so much about watching the game as just having the game on and drinking or eating away. That’s how I view it anyway… So yes, I would say it was a success. Plus I’ve not been dumped so that shows it can’t have been too bad, right? However I will still await the retribution for all of this. Whether it is quick or drawn out, I will approach it with a sense of mild dread but also acceptance – because after putting her through this much football, I know I’ve earned whatever is coming my way. Pretty Little Liars, here I come.

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OliverMarsh

LizManning