Dear Arsenal Football Club,
My name is Billy Costigan and I am a fake football supporter.
The fake football team I support is Arsenal, and I have also used Real Madrid and Aston Villa in th past too.
I have been fake supporting Arsenal for the past 10 years and this is my official resignation.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do love the way you play the game. I love the way you kick the ball, with such passion, such power, such promise and pizazz.
I love the way you throw the ball when there’s a throw-in, such good throwing. Watching that ball cut through the air and the young lads leaping to meet it with glorious splendour.
I especially love the way you roll around on the floor when the opposition taps you on your ever so delicate shin pads. Inspiring.
Football is a wickedly intense sport and gives so much pleasure to millions of people around the world. I know what your saying though, just because millions of people do it, doesn’t mean I need to follow. I can’t help it though, I’m a natural born follower. A sheep in sheeps clothing and I’m proud. Some people say I’m a bit slow but I see it as, I’m meticulous with my thought process.
I’ve been faking it for years though.
The screams, the moans, the purrs of pleasure, they were all forced.
You don’t pleasure me football.
Honestly, you have never been able to satisfy me.
I’ve led you to believe you fulfilled my needs but I only did it because I didn’t want to feel left out.
There it is.
Isolation and rejection made me pretend to love you. How could I hold my head high amongst my peers if they thought I didn’t like football. Football is a mans game. And I am a man, in mans clothing.
Politics and science interested me. History interested me. Culture, religion and books interested me. None of these were ever acceptable topics for me to speak about amongst my male peers. Football was always the main topic of conversation and to not be interested in it was the sin of all sins.
Its a global trend though. Men like sports. Women like fashion. Simple as that. I’m not being sexist because its a reality. You probably know lots of men who like sports and lots of women who like fashion, not so much the other way round. Who am I to try and screw with the sex embedded stereotypes of the world by voicing my opinion. Like I was going to just start talking about the origins of the political system to the people around me. Really? I can hear myself snoring already I’m so bored.
Recent surveys have shown that footballing and banking are the most popular jobs for boy children these days. God bless this country. Its things like this that make me hate myself for leaving your band of loyal supporters Arsenal. Globally that’s nearly 30 million supporters who dedicate plenty of hours each week watching the young men serve their team in emphatic style.
And then plenty more hours during the week discussing the riveting matches where the ball goes from one end of the pitch to the other, being passed from player to player, sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards and occasionally into the goal. More hours spent drowning sorrows or celebrating victories in pubs and bars, reminiscing about how the players ran around that glorious green pitch after that fascinating spherical object.
I used to go to the pub.
Football and pubs are like cheeseburgers and chips (fries).
Like Bonnie and Clyde.
Like the global economy and inevitable catastrophic failure.
They all go pretty well together.
The pub was the place to be though. Men amongst men. Shouting, singing, swearing and drinking. Stripclub? Pehhhhh. I liked to be where the balls are. Football is a mans game, and men like to be in the pub. With other men. No women. No other distractions. Pure testosterone baby. Getting drunk, lowering inhibitions, boosting confidence, being loud and free and hard! With other men. Arms round each other, hugging and the occasional tears. Every now and then, amongst all the excitement, there’s a bit too much closeness and you’ll rub up against another mans genitals but its ok.
Because football is a game for men.
I look back now and there were moments of happiness but it was all pre fabricated on a false premise. I went to the pub, sang racist songs, and watched these games just to be part of a group. At work especially, being a supporter of a football team was a sign masculinity and group solidarity.
‘So what team do you follow?’, ‘Who do you support?’, ‘You watching the game tonight?’.
I’m not one to be left out again, I had too much of that growing up as a kid. I even found myself asking other people if the game was on, and I never know what game is on. Even when the game is on, I don’t really know its on. Googling the teams,the next up and coming matches, researching scores, and talking tactics I learnt from watching other people play FIFA became a heavy duty part of my life.
Being part of something felt so good though. You have to try it man, its exhilarating to not be alone. Even if that ‘something’ had been created out of fear and personal psychological issues, its alwats better to be part of something big than stand on your own in this world. I was finally accepted at school, at work and amongst my friends. Except, as soon as I was by myself I felt like a fraud. I’m talking Bernie Madoff quantities! I hated myself for it.
Sometimes telling lies makes you feel like you have control over your life, but this was a huge false sense of security I was allowing myself to indulge in. Inside I was shattering and the shards of my soul were drifting further and further apart.
I felt like Leonardo Dicaprio in the Departed. The truth and the lie were so deliciously mixed, I couldn’t stop drinking it.
I didn’t know when to draw the line, and ended up watching Match of the Day, every single Saturday. I even had the season recorded on my sky box, along with x factor and strictly come dancing (this is what people talk about in the real world folks).
I would go to matches on weekends with my buddies, rain snow or shine. We started to bond, in a manly way. My brothers, my homies, los amigos They would ask me if I was ok at work, hang out with me outside of work, text me, call me, facebook me and tweet me.
Taking the p**s is a big part of British culture and I had my fare share of banter with my new compadre’s. One time I went to the toilet came back and on my screen there was a rather raunchy video with two females and a drinking device, I couldn’t get rid of it and the sound was rigged so every time I clicked my mouse, the vocals of the video got louder. My boss didn’t find it funny. I got a warning.
Another time they put a dead pigeon in my top desk drawer. It was in the summer and I didn’t go in my drawer for the day so the next morning the stench coming from my desk was horrendous. My boss didn’t find that funny either. Especially when I vomited all over my desktop and keyboard. Mixed with the decomposing pigeon smell, mid-summer heat and my vomit, Vallery, who worked on the other side of my desk vomited too. And she must’ve had a lot of breakfast because it came out like a fat guy on a log fume. I couldn’t tell my boss the truth so I got another warning.
Man I miss those days.
Good times. Good stuff.
It was tiring to keep up the football façade, and I began to put less effort into my Arsenal supporter character, but I became quite good at acting like I knew what people were talking about,
‘Billy, did you catch the game last night?’
‘Good game. A bit slow at times, but entertaining you know.’
‘The game was ok, but the referee, what was he doing?’
These kind of ambiguous statements got me through most situations, but my internal pressure pot was bubbling, and cracks were starting to appear in my manly armour. Slowly, by slowly my true personality was beginning to show. The older I got, the further my football interest drifted away and part of me was sad to see them go. The players, managers and general staff had become a huge part of my fake life.
Ozil, now your making £180,000/week I’m sure you’ll be fine without me.
Young Theo, your £100,000/week will get you through any future hard times, keep your head up.
Mr Richard Poku (catering staff for Arsenal), your £6.19 will one day meet National minimum wage standards, don’t give up the dream!
So the truth is out now, and I feel much better for it. No more having to pretend to be someone I’m not. No more pub visits, no more work solidarity, no more testosterone fuelled gatherings and no more pranks at work. I’ve been off the Arsenal for a short while now and to be honest I miss being part of something. I’m back to being my own independent self and as much as I enjoy my new found freedom it does get lonely. I know it might not be a good time to be an Arsenal supporter after the spanking Chelsea dished out, but I’m sure they’ll win a trophy within the next 15-20yrs, I’m sure of it.
So its over Arsenal, and even though I might take a little look at you every now and then, my heart isn’t there no more. This is a lesson to anyone else out there like me. Its always best to be yourself because living a lie is tiring. Don’t pretend to like certain things to impress people, don’t even pretend to like certain people because it won’t get you know where. One day I’ll be able to have a decent conversation with people who like me for who I am and not what football team I support.
P.S. I don’t like beer either.