If you're reading this article, you like football to some degree. You probably love it, you might even be completely and utterly obsessed with it, I don't know.
Everyone has their specific reasons for enjoying the beautiful game; for many it is viewed as a release from the day to day tribulations of life, for others it is merely a hobby, something to focus on for a couple of hours each week to keep the routine fresh.
There are a number of factors which contributes to our love of the game, and in this article I'm going to talk about all of them. If I've missed anything, don't hesitate to let me know - @FootyAccums.
Hooked early doors
Ever since I was a kid, football took centre stage. From playing it in my back garden as a wide-eyed five-year-old, tamely kicking around a miniature foam ball in a pair of scuffed Hi-Tec's, to carrying around an early-edition Premier League ball purchased by my grandad for £15 from All:Sports wherever I went, I was football-obsessed.
It had me hooked, this glorious game that brought with it nothing but pure joy. As time went on and my life began to change, the one thing that remained the same, and in fact just continued to grow stronger was my fondness for the beautiful game.
Watching it on telly was a little boring at first; as kids your attention span is too short to concentrate on a televised match for almost two hours. But, as time went on and I started to develop a taste for all aspects of the sport and not just playing it, suddenly it became all I wanted to view on my old 1999 JVC box TV, which at the time, I'll have you know, was all the fucking rage.
The late-90s to mid-00s were a fantastic period for football; Thierry Henry made the sport look like ballet, gliding elegantly through top-flight opponents with total ease. Robbie Keane scored loads and loads of goals and did a cartwheel when he celebrated, wearing that unbelievably tight Roma-inspired Kappa Spurs kit, the one sponsored by Thompson. Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Frank Lampard all burst onto the scene as kids and everyone knew they were going to be something special.
Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Paolo Di Canio lit up the division by scoring beautiful goals almost every week in really baggy kits. I appreciate that not all of you reading this would have grown up with these memories, but for those of you that fell in love with the game because of these players, I hope this offers a sufficient dose of nostalgia.
First live match
You start to grow up and it's time for your first live match. Whichever stadium your dad takes you to for the first ever time, that moment when you walk up the steps and clock the vibrant green pitch - with your favourite players warming up on it and the crowd roaring - that moment can never, ever be replaced.
Even as an adult, you get it when you visit a new ground, it's such a special feeling, but the first ever time it happens it's unbelievable. It is at that precise moment you know whether or not you want to devote the rest of your life to the game and more specifically, your chosen team, or if it's not really for you.
It would be easy to walk away, spare yourself years of heartbreak when your team lets you down, time and time, and time again. But, life would be boring without a bit of complication, wouldn't it? It's what makes the good times taste even sweeter.
Whether you're a fan of a side competing in the top four professional divisions, or you've been a long-term devotee to the humble surroundings of the non-league game, there is absolutely nothing better than watching your beloved side pick up three points on a Saturday afternoon.
Getting that notification through on Flashscores, the one that reads 'GOAL 1-0', and it's your team on the right end of it, pure bliss. Not too great when it's the other way around, mind, but lets not focus on that too much for now shall we.
Away days - the funnest thing ever?
An away day with the boys is possibly the funnest thing you will ever do. Such a simple concept - hopping on a train or mini-bus and heading to another destination within the UK, with a selection of your idiot mates and a shit load of beers at around 8am in anticipation for a 3pm kick-off.
You stop off at the motorway services mid-way through the journey for a piss and as soon as the Great British air hits you, you realise that you are in fact pretty bollocksed at 11am on a Saturday morning, and it's quality.
Arrive at the chosen destination, straight to a nearby pub for the early kick-off. It's at this point the betting apps get loaded up and half-cut you think everything's got a chance of winning. Sometimes it pays off, most of the time it doesn't, but it's the taking part that counts I suppose.
Watch the game and hopefully your journey has been worth it, your side wins courtesy of an undeserved last minute penalty and the mood among the lads is at an all-time high. Everyone's buzzing, your bet's been let down by one team (again) but you don't care because it's time for a few more drinks on the train home.
If your miles away then a cheap hotel may have been booked so that you can experience what a night out is like in somewhere like Lincoln. You already know it'll be wank, but it's something different, isn't it. Plus, you're with your mates so it's always going to be a laugh.
One of the main reasons I love football is how it brings people together. For instance, you get dragged to a social event by your other half and know absolutely nobody there, what are you going to talk to these strangers about to break the ice?
The words "I'm not really into football to be honest, mate" send a shiver down my spine, it is a terrifying sentence that fills me with utter dread and i'll tell you why, because I am absolutely scuppered if I need to shed light on another topic.
I don't know anything about politics and after I've complained about the weather, well, that's your lot. We'll just sit in silence for the next hour or so, before I clock someone that looks like they may be interested in hearing my views on Marcus Rashford's new contract or Jadon Sancho's frightening potential. On the same page, if you do find a stranger that shares your love and enthusiasm for the game, you've got yourself a new best mate, at least for the night.
The thing is, you can speak for hours on end about football, everyone's got their own opinions on it and that's what makes it so interesting. You might not necessarily agree with them, but again, things would be boring if everyone just agreed with everything you said, wouldn't it?
Football is endless; it'll thankfully never, ever officially finish and will just continue to form friendships, build relationships and provide talking points. It brings people together, gives people a sense of purpose and gifts memories that last forever. It is, quite simply, the best thing on earth, and that's why we all love it so dearly.
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