On the pronunciation of the word “croissant”, are you a “cross ont” or a “kwass on” person? I ask merely out of curiosity. Both are fine, although I expect the latter is more socially correct. That said, does anybody really give two hoots about social correctness?
This is not the subject of this blog. The subject of this blog is this: Say anything with enough conviction to somebody and they will probably believe you with the utmost sincerity. Try it. Tell the next person you meet that 76% of all seawater fish are female – it’s something to do with ensuring procreation levels due to intense deep-sea fishing. If you don’t believe me, google it. You probably do, and you probably won’t.
You see - it works.
It was with this in mind that I engaged in a conversation with a hardcore Arsenal supporter on the train home from my recent visit to the Emirates Stadium, where I’d been invited to watch a Champions League match against Sevilla.
It’s important that you understand that I'm not a particularly passionate football supporter – it’s what happens when you follow Darlington. However I am a passionate person, easily influenced by the passion of other people, and nowhere will you find more passion for a football team than in the stadium itself, especially during a big international game, and this was exactly that.
Amidst the screaming and shouting, the incessant and intense abuse, the gut wrenching angst and unconditional worship which emanated from everyone around me, I understood what it meant to be a proper football supporter.
So, here I was on the train home from the game, my eyes lightly resting on the restaurant reviews page of the Standard, when a rather large, shaven headed Gunner slumped into the seat next to me – fully kitted out in this seasons home strip.
Ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have said what I was about to say, but I’d been there, I’d seen it, I’d smelt it. So with supreme conviction I said
“Bit patchy tonight.”
The Gunner turned to face me, took one look at the pinstripes and said “What?”
“The game, I thought the game was a bit patchy. Overall I think it was a reasonable performance, and they deserved to win, but there was a lot of missed opportunities – should have been 4 or 5 nil.”
The Gunner studied me. He then paused, and after what seemed like an eternity said “Your absolutely right, I completely agree.”
I turned back to my paper, as a knowledgeable football pundit.