Sex and Football – Part 2: It just doesn’t mix…

The second and final part of Steve Hall’s tale of his conquests and why sex and football just doesn’t mix…

I don’t know if it’s fate, luck or coincidence but all of my attempts to combine girls and football have had similarly mixed results – at best. My next attempt was with 16 year old Dorothy.

As I was 22 the six year gap between Dorothy and myself might have seemed a bit excessive, but my advanced age paled in comparison with that of her 42 year old fiancé (who she subsequently married). The low point of our brief but torrid (and exhausting) affair (apart from when she chucked me for suggesting a three way with Maria) was the one home game I took her to (I forget against whom) which we once again lost.

After that I got the message – taking a woman to football ensures my team loses – and for a long while I kept sex and football apart. And at least with football I knew there’d be a game every week, while my sex life was sadly much less predictable – and less frequent.

I soon worked out I could drink beer, smoke pot and watch football without any noticeable impact on Swindon’s performance (although it did significantly impair my memory of almost every game in the 70s). It took me rather longer to work out that drinking beer and smoking dope had a significant effect on sex, not just my performance but my ability to actually find a girl willing to have sex with a stoned pisspot who only talked about Swindon Town.

When the penny finally dropped (the answer was simple – change the order – sex first, beer and drugs after) I met Zoe. Of course I didn’t risk putting a jinx on Swindon by taking her to a game, but at least she didn’t seem to affect my unexceptional performance as left back for Clifton Rockets in the Bristol Downs League.

Unless, that is, you consider her effect on my ability to drive to games after she contributed to my car being written off.

To be fair, it wasn’t really Zoe’s fault, or mine for that matter. You could argue that we shouldn’t have parked in the lay-by on the Wantage-Oxford road (sorry to swear) on that cold January night in 1979. But she lived with her parents, I was staying with mine mid-week and we needed somewhere to go.

By now I had a respectable job as a drug dealer – sorry, pharmaceutical representative – so my cosy company car was just the place to while away the winter hours in the front seat with Zoe.

I guess the couple that cruised into the same lay-by with (I presume) the same objective in mind didn’t see my red Cortina in the dark as they cruised to a premature halt by slamming into the back of it.

Premature was rather the word for our experience as well. The first we knew was a mighty crash, and I asked her “Did the car move for you too, dear?” (If only I’d said that really.  What she actually said was “What the hell was that?” to which I replied “Someone hit us.”)  It was an extreme case of coitus interruptus but it could have been much worse – three minutes earlier and I could have sustained a very nasty injury indeed.

It was all too much. The winter was cold, Don Rogers returned, scored on his first game back then retired; we missed out on promotion in the last few games of the season and in August 1979 I said goodbye to Zoe, to Swindon and indeed to England and left for a year’s travel (so I thought) to faraway Australia.

Had I known that a) I’d be stony broke by the time I got there; b) just how bad Aussie beer really is; c) I’d never return to live in England again and d) I’d miss seeing Swindon beat Arsenal – again – in the League Cup the next year things may have been different.

I swear that 4-3 win over Arsenal jinxed my brother’s wedding. After all, there was no way on God’s earth I was going to miss seeing Swindon win the League Cup again, even if I was totally skint and had no holidays at all due in my new job.

So anticipating the final at Wembley I told my boss that I had to go back to England for my brother’s wedding – well, I had to have some excuse – and I tried to borrow the fare back, unnecessarily as it turned out, thanks to Wolves’ lucky win in the semis.

My boss was happy when I told him my brother’s wedding had been called off and fate had its revenge 17 years later when, after borrowing a not inconsiderable amount of money for my wife and I to fly back to my brother’s real wedding, he called it off with 2 weeks to go, too late for us to cancel. And it was in July so I couldn’t even go to a game. The sex and football jinx had struck again.

Earlier it had occurred to me that perhaps it was a Northern Hemisphere jinx. So shortly after I met my lovely wife to be in Sydney I took her to the 1981 World Youth Cup semi-final.

But after England crashed out 2-1 to that well known footballing nation Qatar I knew it had crossed the equator with me, while my girlfriend (as she was then), seemed to think the abuse I hurled at the Qatar fans was serious rather than just friendly banter. If I’d known then that they would win the rights to the 2022 World Cup instead of Australia my banter would have been somewhat less friendly.

While my wife was tolerant of my football obsession she didn’t really share my interest – so in retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made to schedule our first trip to Europe together to coincide with the 1986 World Cup.

From my perspective, I gave up watching many of the peripheral games (i.e. ones not involving England or the big teams) for love; from her perspective, the attentive, witty, relatively normal boyfriend she’d had for 5 years suddenly became a Real Ale swilling, football obsessed, farting machine who neglected her whenever there was a game on TV.

So she left me alone when the games were on and when Gary Lineker scored the first goal of his hat trick against Poland she almost dropped a dish she was washing up downstairs in the kitchen of my friends’ house in Clifton when the roar reverberated from all the houses around Bellevue Crescent.

The tension between us culminated on the day of the quarter final. We were staying just outside Plymouth with my friends Dave (who I’d been to school with at King Alfred’s and who had screwed one of my girlfriends while I was on holidays) and Janie (his wife, who I’d spent six months trying to get in bed while we were at Bristol together in an enjoyable, but ultimately fruitless, attempt to get my own back).

But now Janie, a lovely girl, was being very unreasonable. She wanted us all to go to dinner to celebrate her birthday on the spurious grounds that a) it was her birthday; b) she was 8 months pregnant; c) she’d spent all day painting the house; and d) she was keeping Dave at the time by working as a doctor while he studied.

Dave pointed out that it was England versus Argentina in a World Cup quarter final and that easily trumped all of the above. At which my loving wife said “That’s awful – you’d never do that to me, would you?”

On reflection it may have been more tactful to prevaricate and my response of “Of course I would – it’s the World Cup” wouldn’t have been rewarded, 90 heartbreaking minutes and one Hand of God later, by hearing her say “it serves you right, I’m glad you lost.”

I didn’t hit her – I’m not like that – and I’ve since forgiven her, although the memory still rankles. But women, sex and football, they just don’t mix very well. Ask John Terry.

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