“Does anyone like football?”

Image by Alex Scott

Image by Alex Scott

By Katie Whyatt

There are certain moments in life, in football, of which every single one of us has a memory.

Moments on which we can look back and remember, perfectly, exactly where we were, who we were with, how we felt, what we were doing. These moments feel frozen in time, immortalised, enshrined amidst the landscape of world football culture. There are watershed goals, games and tournaments that change everything – that shape our lives and are witnessed all around the world. And we file them in our minds under the words, “I watched that, too.”

Because everyone has a story. One goal, one game – and one million different perspectives.

Never has this mantra been more acutely exemplified than when I moved into my university halls last month. Clustered in the communal kitchen, we were swirling in a vacuum of small talk until someone piped up.

“Does anyone like football?”

We looked around. Glanced at each other. There was a Brentford fan in the ranks. A Liverpool season ticket holder. Peterborough.

“I’ve got a membership card at Chelsea.”

“Chelsea? I support Bradford City.”

We talked of that day. The Brentford fan had watched us on Match of The Day. The Chelsea supporter had actually been at Stamford Bridge. When I was shaking in my uncle’s front room, refusing to celebrate Halliday’s goal lest it be offside, suppressing a fist-pump in case Chelsea found a leveller, he was storming out of the ground in horror, unable to stomach the remaining half hour. Every single one of them had a story. They knew where they were when it happened.

We talked of Chelsea’s Champions League triumph, of Torres slotting home to send Gary Neville into goalgasm.

We recalled Segio Aguero’s last minute heroics on the greatest final day of the Premier League era: as I’d sprawled out in the front room, hoping a Manchester City win wouldn’t cost QPR survival (the Loftus Road outfit had bossed the second half), others had hopped between bedrooms, following both games at once, or had seen the highlights on shows in Holland hours after the result was confirmed here.

We remembered Istanbul, Suarez’s bite on Cellini, Holland thumping Spain at the World Cup, Jose parking the bus at Anfield.

Six complete strangers, yet scores and scores of moments had bound us together years before we’d even met.

Over the next few months on WOAP, we will be looking back at the times where the world has stood still for football. At key matches, at key moments – at the incredibly ridiculous and the ridiculously incredible. We’re sure you’ll remember these games, and we’re sure you’ll have stories of your own to match ours. Starting today, our writers will be paying homage to the football moments that shook their world – and shook everyone else’s, too.

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4 replies

  1. You can talk about all these great games, even including Chelsea, but Charlton at home, the penultimate match in 1997, was the most agonising and exciting I ever watched.

    • I couldn’t make the Charlton game, but I’ll never forget the QPR game three days later a truly joyous afternoon of football bliss😊😃

  2. My memorial moment was Gordon Watson’s 2 winning goals in final 6 minutes against Barnsley, 1998.

  3. That home game against Charlton Athletic was played on a Thursday, on the same day as the General Election, when Labour broke the Conservatives 18 years in Government.

    Ironic, that it’s now just over 18 years since that vital victory over the team from The Valley!

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