I started going to football matches to get over a broken heart. At age 47 I fell truly, madly and deeply for Cooper - a builder with a heart of gold, blue eyes, broad shoulders, a white van and little else to his name. He rescued my flat from ruin.
We had an affair which lasted less than three months. People talk about crash and burn. This was burn and crash. We went up like a couple of rockets, too much too fast, and it ended in despair. He ended it.
Now at 47 you are supposed to be sensible and responsible so this storm of passion took my family and friends by surprise. My daughter Maggie thought I had lost my marbles. At the time I was working in a government department with a team, a budget and business objectives, so it was not ideal to be falling apart.
That August, we broke up in January, I was sitting at my kitchen table in my usual mopey state when I heard an agony aunt on the radio saying depressed people should cheer themselves up by doing something they have never done before.
I pondered this for a while. An entirely new experience was needed. I am a wimp, so bungee-jumping, para-gliding or any branch of extreme sport was not an option. Listening to music was out: Maggie had already endured months of me sobbing to Katie Melua's The Closest Thing To Crazy and John Prine's version of When Two Worlds Collide. Then it came to me. Go to a football match. On my own.
There was only one team I could possibly follow: Tottenham Hotspur. Maggie's dad Ray, her grand-dad and great grand-dad have followed the Lilywhites for ever. So I tracked down the box office and managed to get a ticket for Tottenham versus Leeds.
White Hart Lane (world famous home of the Spurs) is not the easiest place to get to. I emerged at Seven Sisters tube and joined the thousands of male fans (it was overwhelmingly male) walking from the tube to the stadium which takes 25 minutes. I followed the fans and turned into Park Lane. There was the sweet slightly sickening smell of cheap meat and fried onions from the burger stalls. Once in the stadium I was overwhelmed by the noise and the passion. The chanting is physical. It sets up deep reverberations in your diaphragm. I LOVED IT. We beat Leeds two:one. I was hooked. Got me for life.
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