MFX Ramblings, More Than A-Peeling

Band of Brothers

Never fear! The MFX Galaxy’s 2nd favourite Dundonian is back once again – with the ill behaviour – for your reading pleasure!

First off this week, thanks to Grant Cook for his kind words in his latest article, available hynah. He says I’ve been prolific with my blogs. Cheers pal. At least I know someone’s reading them!

It’s time for a confession Galaxy. I actually sat down and saved most of this article on 13th June. That’s about a month ago. But due to a combination of my own fucking laziness and… well, just my own fucking laziness to be honest, I haven’t actually posted this til now.

Being a sports fan is a strange, strange thing. Whatever sport you follow – football, basketball, rugby, baseball, cricket etc – you get this feeling. You’re surrounded by hundreds, thousands of other like-minded people who are in the stadium/arena to see the same thing as you. You’re bound by the same feeling – it’s like you’re a band of brothers.

I’ll give you an example. A few weeks ago, along with thousands of other Dundee fans, I travelled to Rob Hollands country – saff east Lahndan – for a testimonial match.

It was a long, long day, setting off from the 01382 on the train at 8:20am. There were two stages to the main journey. Dundee to Edinburgh, then from Edinburgh to London.

The first train journey was relatively quiet, uneventful even. There were people commuting to and from work, and there were others – like me – secreting booze and getting ale’d up for the long journey ahead. I sat and roared my way through 1/3 of an episode of MFX, chuckling away to myself and making merry. You could sense a friendly atmosphere. Well those of us in drink could anyway! The rest of the travellers may have had a different experience!

When I changed trains and met up with a mate of mine and my cousin, that’s when things changed.

Whilst the first train had been almost quiet and respectful, the London train was hugely different – hundreds of football fans making the same trip were singing, boozing heavily and being a general nuisance to other patrons. People you didn’t know would come up, speak to you and you’d share tales of teams gone by, reminiscing about the good times (few though we’ve had of late!)

On arriving in London around 3:00pm, normally a train full of pissed up football punters would be greeted with a less than warm welcome by the fuzz. However, London’s finest were really sound with us. They recognised we weren’t there to cause trouble. We were there to get shit-faced. And for the football. But mainly to get shit-faced.

The tale takes another turn when we’re making our way from Victoria station to Thornton Heath. It’s about a 25-minute train journey.

Heading to the platform, we’d liberated some pints from a pub and were openly swaggering down the stairs at Victoria station drinking from the glasses. A guy stops us and says: “lads, they’re not gonna let you on the platform, or the train, with those”.

Instead of telling us to leave them behind, he proceeds to reach for his back pocket. We’re all thinking “shit, we’re about to get stabbed here”.

That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Instead, this diamond geezer brings a newspaper out of his pocket, splits it into thirds, and tells us to wrap our pints in the local rag so we can secrete the booze and continue our party! You sir, are a legend!

Once we’re on the train, we’re absolutely wrecked. Been drinking for about 10 hours at this stage. All sense of decorum and respect for other travellers has gone out of the window. We’ve secured a table next to the train doors and proceeded to sing, shout and make general cunts of ourselves. Singing the same song over, and over, AND OVER, AND OVER again. If I was sober (and one of the norms) on that train, I’d have been fucking RAGING.

Instead, this guy sitting behind us asked if he could join in. A random Londoner, with no allegiance to either Crystal Palace or Dundee, sat down with us and enjoyed the carnival atmosphere – in our minds – that we had created, joining in with that one fucking song we’d sung til we were hoarse.

One of his fellow commuters didn’t feel the same way and let us know as much when she left the train, shouting at us “you’re just fucking retards aren’t you”.

Not ones to take unwarranted abuse lightly, we opened the window and vociferously chanted the same song we’d been singing for the entire journey, accompanied by giving it the big “wanker” sign out of the window. She was NOT amused. We tried to coerce the guy who joined us into coming to the game, but he politely refused before wishing us well as we left the train.

The game itself you ask? I’ve little to no recollection of it. I remember meeting some guy I was at uni with but who I hadn’t seen for years. I bumped into a guy I work with who described me as “the most cunted I’ve ever seen anyone”, which I took as a compliment.

Let’s be clear. Virtually every Dundee fan who made that trip was shit-faced. However, you know how when you see adverts for booze on TV and there’s a message saying “Please drink responsibly”. I’d say that we were the perfect advert for that slogan. Were we drunk? Absolutely. Anyone who says they weren’t is a fucking liar. But… we weren’t a danger to anyone else, or ourselves. Surely that’s what responsible drinking is, in and of itself?

There’s a sense of camaraderie that you get when you follow a sports team, that you rarely find anywhere else. You’ll follow the same cause, the same team, no matter what happens. Through the hard times and the good. You won’t always have the same opinions on your team, but you’ll all think you know what would be best.

You’ll make essentially pointless midweek, end-of-season trips to London, just to get royally fucked up on the train and piss other passengers off.

If those of us out there who are sports fans actually sat and thought about how much money we’ve spent following our teams – whether it be on season tickets, merchandise, away trips etc etc – you’re probably talking well into the tens of thousands.

Whilst that may be chump change to people like our Lord and Master Sir Ian Trumps, it’s an awful lot of cash over a lifetime. Think what we could actually have to show for it if we didn’t piss it all away on a sports team.

But why do we do it? Because it gives us a sense of belonging. An almost tribalistic feeling. It gives us a common cause. We fucking love our teams. And we’d follow them anywhere. As Grant and I did a few weeks ago. For an essentially pointless piss-up. In London. On a Tuesday night. I feel a song coming on…

Oh what a night… late in May following the great Dundee… Nadir Ciftci loves to use his teeth… Like a snake he loves to bite…