Martin Devlin: When sport watching takes you to the dark side

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Sitting in the office today has provided the best possible example of how sport and sport watching can take you to the dark side.

We all have aspects of our own personalities that challenge us.

Don’t we? Or is that just me?

Sport I find makes me go to places where rational humans fear to tread.

It was English Premier League football with Everton vs Man City providing the most peculiar situation where Everton fans were quite happy if their team lost while Manchester United fans spent 90 mins madly cheering on their most hated cross-town rivals City.

And why? All because of Liverpool.

But they’re not playing I hear you say. Exactly, and that’s my point.

My team (Manchester United) not only weren’t playing, we aren’t even in this title race, yet today’s game meant being totally distracted at work until the final whistle hoping for a result that would put City back on top and gut that other mob from Merseyside, Liverpool.

My hate, and yes it is hate, for that club dates back to when I first started following the league in 1975.

In those days the scousers won title after title. It happened so often we called it sunrise.

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The three certainties in life were death, taxes and Liverpool winning the league.

But all that stopped in 1990. 28 years later they are desperate to win it again while the rest of us, motivated by an irrational childish pathetic schadenfreude, are equally praying they choke like they did in 2009 and 2014.

Man City won this morning’s game to go back on top but having played one more.

With a dozen games to go this same sad sorry situation will be played and replayed many more times over the upcoming weeks.

Grown men making lame excuses for poor sportsmanship and bad behaviour all the while knowing that as idiotic as it might appear to any neutral observer, it’s also as satisfying as sport ever gets.

Tell me I’m immature and I can only agree. It’s something I can never justify and can only explain by quoting that old military expression “your enemy’s enemy is your friend”.

Never truer than when attached to sport.



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