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Hat tricks and cheap pints - why the past is always better
As the cliche goes, the past is a foreign land and they do things differently there.
I've always thought of it to be somewhere like Scotland. The same but different. You can figure things out and the the little differences seem funny.
However, increasingly those lands are drifting further and further away.
This weekend we entertain Fulham. I associate that club with three things - a neutral section for fans, Niemi hitting the post and Beattie's hat trick.
Many other fans may mention the stupid Michael Jackson statue too, but bearing in mind our history with statues, I'm going to steer clear of that one. Glass houses and all that.
What's got me all in a tizz is the realisation that Beattie's hat trick in the 4-2 win was a decade ago. I barely realise I'm old enough to have memories from that long ago.
Looking at the photos, players that once seemed so old to me now look like children and everything suddenly seems to have a sepia hue - although I appreciate that may be my eye sight failing.
As it was, I watched that game in the Saracen's Head in Bath. I was a university student and it was a venue that struck a balance between a big screen and cheap (for Bath) beer. The quality of barmaid was probably a factor too, knowing me aged 19.
The reason this has suddenly bothered me now is twofold. One, I'd kill for the chance to buy a pint for £2.20 again and two, matches like that Fulham match are little signposts dotted through life.
Music may provide life's soundtrack but football punctuates the existence of a fan. To suddenly see it slip away into the ether of time is to realise you are actually growing up. If you are anything mike me, your first game (2-1 loss to Everton, 1992), first night game (2-1 win against Newcastle '93), first away game (7-2 against Spurs, '00 - still not been back to White Hart Lane as a result of that one) are all easily remembered, along with various other highs and lows along the way.
It's been a few years since I admitted my professional football career may never get going now, but to realise games you fondly recall as if they were only yesterday seems a much more sobering thought.
Readers older than me will no doubt but asking exactly what it is I'm moaning about - after all I'm still young enough to be considered target audience for Radio One. Although I'm increasingly in danger of going postal each time I hear One Direction mentioned.
The fact is, football, one of the great escapes of the modern era is starting to remind me time is moving on. Football is meant to be a refuge from reality.
At least I'm starting to see the appeal of the Premier League years on Sky - gives me the chance to pretend I'm 18 again!
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