This is football.
This is fiction.
Or is it?
Aye it is, probably.
We’ve all had that thought, however fleeting, however improbable, it’s common in all of us as football fans. With a bit of luck, some hard work and a bit more luck, we could have ‘made it’.
Problem is, 99.99% of us are kidding ourselves, it wasn’t circumstance and misfortune that combined to stifle our dreams of footballing stardom, it was a lack of talent, plain and simple.
Imagine this though, what if you were part of the 00.01% that did have the talent, the opportunities, imagine you had it all on a plate, and fucked it up. Now that would really hurt. Lucky for you lovely people you don’t have to imagine, because here at Balls Boobs and Blow we have access to someone who had the talent, had it all, and threw it all away. Now I’m not going to name him (maybe because he’s a figment of my imagination and I hate making up names) but his tale of woe makes for fine reading, and it may even pluck on your heartstrings just a little.
People look at me and they think I’ve done okay for myself, I have a steady job, I have a wife and two kids. I do not live in poverty, my (physical) health is fine, I drive a nice car and my golf handicap is in single figures. To look at my life from afar you might even be a little jealous of me.
Appearances however, can be quite deceiving. The honest truth is I’d trade my life for yours in a heartbeat. I don’t care if you’re fat, I don’t care if you’re lonely, I don’t care if you live in a box, fuck it I don’t even care if your dick doesn’t work. I’d do the trade. Nothing can be worse than the torment that runs through my mind, every moment of every day. The torment of being so close to greatness I could almost taste it only to fall agonisingly, humiliatingly short.
You see I wasn’t just a promising footballer, it wouldn’t hurt so much if that were the case. No I was the best, and by a fucking distance. Every time I stepped onto a pitch I shone. I was quick I was strong and I was technically sublime. More than that though, I understood the game. I could spot things in an instant that Gary Neville needs a weekend of prep and a giant Ipad to see.
So what went wrong then, a career ending injury perhaps? A run in with the law? Drugs? Booze? Gambling? Nah I’m afraid not, any of those things would have made my failure easier to swallow (and made for a better story), at least there would have been a focal point for my anger. In the end it’s quite simple really, all my life I’d been showered with praise, told that I was special and that I could achieve anything I desired. I wish that just one person had told me that all this was no given, I wish someone had told me that yes this was within my grasp, but to achieve it I needed to reach out and grab it.
Yep you guessed it, I just didn’t work hard enough. The thing is I didn’t even have to work that hard, all it required was the tiniest bit of desire and a modicum of self-sacrifice and I could have had everything I wanted. By the time this finally occurred to me I was done. I was on the scrapheap and had wasted my life blaming others for my ‘misfortune’.
The details are of no importance, but from having the world at my feet, with clubs across Europe scrambling to secure my signature I tumbled into obscurity. I wallowed in self-pity, I raged at watching guys so obviously inferior to me somehow getting a shot at the big time. I blamed everyone except the one true culprit. Me.
None of you will ever know how it feels to fuck up on this scale. Not one of you was destined for greatness, I was. I can’t even bring myself to watch a game of football nowadays, it’s too painful to see my life as it should have been, played out by actors not fit to grace the same stage as me.
You might think I’m laying it on a bit thick, over dramatizing things. After all I don’t have it that bad, I have a job, a wife, kids. In a way I don’t blame you for thinking like that, after all you and I are different creatures, I had a gift and you did not, you could never understand me. But understand this, I would swap everything I have, wife, kids, job, the Audi in the driveway of my detached house in the ‘burbs for another shot at what should have been mine.
There is no deal to be made however, no Devil to whom I can sell my soul for one more chance, I had it all in my hands, I was the one who let it slip and crash to the floor. For that I am destined to live a life forever tainted by regret.
If you feel like saying hello to the author of this piece of football fiction then Alastair can usually be found mucking about on twitter.