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The Real Beauty Behind The Beautiful Game

4 min read
by Sam Ricketts

“Football has given my dad and I time together, great experiences, unforgettable moments and endless conversations”

Dad and football. A well rehearsed pairing for many of us. We watch football with our dads, we talk football with our dads: it’s a shared experience and often bonds a father and son. When the possibility of not being able to share that unique, special experience arises, it makes you desperately long for it, and appreciate it even more. With my dad currently in hospital in the intensive care unit after a stroke, I have this possibility of losing it, and I would give anything to watch a football game with him again. 

He was never a football fan, let alone a Spurs fan. However when I got bitten by the football bug, I followed in my mums family roots and was anointed into a lifetime of Spurs fandom (and misery of course). Despite my dad never holding much of an interest in the sport at all, he instantly began to keep up to date with the scores and big news, keeping an extra close eye on Spurs. He did this for me, as something we could enjoy and talk about together.

Fast forward 10 years, he’s fully COYS and football has been a great part of our already close relationship, bringing us even closer. We’ve been to many a game together; from watching the European champions being ruthlessly slain by the Spurs sword at Wembley, to Spurs toppling the giants of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in THAT Champions League run. We made special moments that will last with us forever.

But would it be shocking if I told you the football side of things were merely secondary? What many fail to see is that the true beauty behind these moments, and the memories that I will cherish beyond anything, are those with my father. When the stadium suddenly erupts with joy like the flame of a struck match finally catching, the first thing the light illuminates is the man sat beside me. I look to my side at my dad and the look we share in that moment is indescribable. The joy, the rollercoaster of emotions, the journey, the pre match build up including our little routines and traditions. The excuse to spend a day with him. These are the truly special memories that I will never let go of.

Football and Spurs have brought us closer in many ways. We regularly chat about Spurs, watch the games on TV and even make the long pilgrimage from the rolling hills of the Devon countryside to the sacred N17. For a busy man who works away a lot, I cherish this uninterrupted time spent with him above everything else.

Even more than just watching football together, despite his hectic work life, he made sure to spend every weekend watching and supporting me play football. This meant and still does mean the world to me. After scoring a goal the true rush of happiness and burst of emotions I got was not from celebrating with my teammates, but looking over at my dad on the side-line, who would always be smiling over at me.

The best part of a win was not the three points, but the walk over to him after the game, and the car journey home as he congratulated me and we discussed the game and my performance in intricate detail. Even after a loss, he was the one who I would vent with and be disappointed with. He knows how much I inherited his hate of losing, and we have the closeness in our relationship in which he would know exactly the right things to say to me. I hope with all my heart that I get to carry on sharing my football with him. I hope with all my heart that I get to carry on turning in celebration to look at him beaming on at me. I hope with all my heart that I get to carry on basking in the joy of a win with him, or drowning in the disappointment of a loss with him. As long as it is with him.

Football has given my dad and I time together, great experiences, unforgettable moments and endless conversations. For that I will always be grateful. Although, football without him would not be the same, in fact it would be empty, soulless even. Players and managers come and go, success comes and goes (maybe even never comes when you support Spurs), but the eternal, special, most important part of it all is the memories, time spent and the relationship. This is more important to me than any football game ever will be.

Strokes are a horrible illnesses and can have life changing impacts. My dad is the strongest, most loving, best person I know, and if anyone can beat a stroke it is him. I hope to one day read this article to him. I urge anyone reading this to educate yourself and others about strokes and what to look out for and to donate to Stroke Association (www.stroke.org.uk).

I also urge you to love the true beauty in football. If you have a father, or someone close with whom you share football, please appreciate them and the memories you make.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

Sam Ricketts

2 Comments

  1. Ben
    12/07/2022 @ 5:30 am

    Beautiful article. Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery

    Reply

  2. Jane Hitchings
    14/07/2022 @ 10:46 pm

    What a heartfelt and wonderful tribute to your relationship with your father. The poignancy of your words bought tears to my eyes.
    Hold onto the dream that you and your dad will again sit side by side watching football and you will share the joy of your close bond again. The dream will be realised as Simon is, as you say,strong and determined and never satisfied being a loser. Simon doesn’t lose.,not with his fantastic team behind him.
    Love you all
    Jane

    Reply

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