I’ve always felt like I had a sitcom in me, and now I’ve finally stumbled across the subject matter. It’ll be titled ‘The Dubai Footballing Dads’, in homage to the men who stalk the touchlines day in, day out. I found myself watching my 8 year old play football last Thursday evening out at Academic City, and suddenly I had an epiphany. ‘WHAT AM I DOING?’ I thought. ‘It’s 9pm on a Thursday night, I’ve watched him five days in a row, and there are three more games over the weekend to come! My wife’s not talking to me, as she says (quite rightly), it’s all getting out of hand. The poor boy’s knackered.’ He got in the car after playing five games that night and fell asleep.
But I’m only a part-timer. Some of the kids play seven nights a week, with four games on a Saturday, then train after they’ve played two games on a Monday, before they go to intensive coaching at midnight on a Wednesday. Other dads will tell you a different story, but secretly they all want their boys to be the next Lionel Messi. Apart from me, that is – I want my boy to be the next Lee Cattermole, but with much more aggression (that’s the nasty captain of Sunderland, who gets sent off every other week for kicking people). It becomes addictive, but ultimately counterproductive. Oh, but what material for my award-winning sitcom!
I witnessed scenes of genuine madness at the Football Sevens tournament last weekend, with dads hurling abuse at their little kids. It was embarrassing, but also hilarious. I won’t need to make up the gags, I’ll just write it how it is!
We all stand there, and I’m twitching with nerves as my boy gives yet another rotten pass that costs the game. They never say it, but you know the other dads are blaming you deep down. ‘We could be champions... but we’re losers… because of YOUR BOY!’
We occasionally have a laugh in between all the abuse-hurling, and, as one dad said to me the other night, ‘At least when I’m here, I’m not at home arguing with my wife’. It’s going to be a winner!
Hear Rob’s radio shows on Coast 103.2FM every Friday 11am-2pm live from the Mövenpick JBR (04 449 8888), and every Saturday 6pm-9pm live from the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
And another thing…
Mega congratulations to Everton boss David Moyes, who celebrates 10 years in charge this week. I love the man, and have had the pleasure of his company a few times here in Dubai. A couple of years ago, Big Moysie, Big Sam Allardyce (manager of West Ham United) and their wives rocked up at the Yacht Club for a pre-dinner drink, with the ladies looking magnificent. Straight away the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever seen in Dubai drowned all of us.
But just being in his company, whatever the weather, you realise how passionate Moyesie is. Football burns in him. Maybe he’ll stay at Everton, maybe he’ll move on – whichever, he’ll be a major success. Good luck to him!