Over the last dozen years or so, I have been suffering from nostalgia for the footballing past. This chronic disease is marked by rapid mental deterioration including seeing, hearing, feeling things that are not there, nonsense speech, unusual behaviour, lack of emotion, unmotivation and social withdrawal.
Other symptoms and signs are: vertigo (triggered by frequent teams rotation), nausea (caused by moronic badge-kissing), vomiting (caused by eating prawn sandwiches and buying for my grandson yet another 100% polyester official replica kit), plus anxiety and pain over the nowadays player’s artistic diving and cheating.
One way I was trying to relieve nostalgia was to create a personal space and fill it with small reminders of past. Photographs of my favourite players and teams, mementos of special events, greeting cards and newspaper clippings, all these I have been using, without much success, to create a comforting emotional connection and gain some perspective on the complicated, contaminated, anarchic, difficult, ugly, and confrontational present vis-à-vis the simple, pure, ordered, easy, beautiful, and harmonious past.
However, thanks to CD ROM technology and audio and video reproduction, my free access to an infinitely recyclable past seems to have started to help me to understand that my 'disease' might be less a matter of simple memory on the traditional values and former glories than of complex projection; the invocation of a partial, idealized history merges with a 'dissatisfaction' with the present.
Further to this, I've found out the chief safeguards against the warm feelings and uplifting mood about the over-glorified footballing past. They are: 1) never close your umbrella while watching your grandsons playing in the heavy rain, and 2) never say in front of your grandchildren the following phrases: “Call me sentimental but...”, or “This is the can from the first beer I ever drank”.