Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Who Thought Football Needed Interpreters??

Our friends, Kate & Sam Tudor are true Cambridge City Football Club fans. They go to every home game and their two boys, Freddy & Cal, are being brought up to bleed white and black. They used to  make it to the away games too, but two little boys + driving to and from games in a day = eye-stabby.

My Mum's family (well, most of them) bleed blue for Chelsea Football Club, a big London club. I suppose if I had to choose, I would have to support Chelsea, because if I didn't my entire family would lynch me. My cousin just married a Tottenham supporter, and he never hears the end of it - especially when Chelsea beat Tottenham.

Here is some perspective on English Football:

Chelsea is in the Premier League - the highest in the English Football League System (which is well explained, if you care, here). There are 20 teams clubs in that league. Under them, is the Football League (aka Championship League), with another 20 clubs. Under them is League One & Two, with 24 clubs in each, and under them is Conference National, with yet another 24 clubs. So far, we're up to 88 clubs.

At this point, the nation divides in two: Conference North, and Conference South, each with 22 clubs. And then it further divides into three Premier Division Football Leagues: Northern, Southern and Isthmian - and all 3 of them have 22 clubs. (Yes, Isthmian - it refers to "London and South East England" - I can't believe I had to explain that to you, jeez.) Cambridge City Football Club is there, in the Southern Premier Division.

Then, each of those 3 are further divided into two Division One teams - either North or South (or Central and South-West - so specific), and each of those  Divisions have 22 clubs. So from the top down to that point in the pyramid, we're up to 358 clubs. Keep in mind, in this English Football League System pyramid, we're only at row 8 - out of a total of 24 rows. Football is kinda a big deal over here.

Every year there's a tournament called the Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup).  Eligible teams are the Premier & Championship Leagues, and the next six tiers of the pyramid. Theoretically, one of the smaller lower teams could make it through the six rounds to the quarter finals, and just maybe, make it all the way to the top, and win the Cup. I don't think this has ever happened, but everyone loves a David & Goliath sports story.

So here's your David & Goliath Sports Story!!!

Cambridge City made it to the first round of the FA cup this year! Their game was against the Milton Keynes Dons, who play in Football League One. That's in the 3rd tier of the pyramid, while City is in the 7th. That means there are 116 clubs between City & MK Dons. The Dons are full-time footballers; City players get paid, but not enough to live on, and all of them have jobs. The Dons play every day, all day; City players... not so much. But who cares! City is in the FA cup!! Kate & Sam were pretty excited, as you can imagine. Matthew & I obviously got a babysitter & tickets, and joined them to cheer on the good guys.

So that's where I have to take a detour from this blah blah blah to tell you something interesting:

Football fans are insane. And impossible to understand. And unexpectedly musical.

Here is a very small sampling of the cheers from Cambridge City fans. The videography is just nothing, because the game was televised, and the camera was right in front of us, and I didn't want to be caught either on camera or by the cameraman. So close your eyes, and listen. Except for the Disco one, you'll want to watch that.

It's true -there really is only one Adie Cambridge - a midfielder, whose actual name is Adrian Cambridge. But that tune is totally changeable to whoever has the ball - or generally, whoever does something awesome. It is my new favourite household chant: There's only one Lizzie Hawkeye!

By the middle of the first half of the game, Matthew & I were proudly chanting along, especially to my favourite "Gary Roberts' Family Holiday". At halftime I asked Kate what the deal was - Gary Roberts is the manager, but maybe he also has a family holiday business, or a B&B, or something? No, no, he doesn't. It's because they're chanting "Gary Robert's Barmy Army." Ohhhh.... oopsies.

I know you're all dying to hear the ending of the sports saga - did the underdog win? Was it a glorious victory???

Well, no, but a draw was a most excellent result for the boys in White!!

For Kate & Sam, this means they get to go to Milton Keynes for the rematch next week, and do it all again! I don't think my nerves can take it - I'd rather take care of Freddy & Cal, and let Sam & Kate get sore throats again.

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