Ladies, it’s time to embrace football…men are so engrossed in the Euros you'll get away with anything, says Lizzie Cundy

Ladies, it’s time to embrace football…men are so engrossed in the Euros you'll get away with anything, says Lizzie Cundy

06/15/2021

TAKE it from me – even if you hate football, now is the time to embrace it.

It is one for all and all for one, so muster that true Brit resolve over the next four weeks — dig deep, carry on, and in football terms, HAVE IT.

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If your other half is glued to the TV screen, he or she won’t notice what you’re doing. In their eyes you could get away with murder — house renovations, shopping trips or weekends away.

There is an unwritten relationship bible of soccer etiquette and having been married to former footballer Jason Cundy, now 51, for 18 years, I’m well versed.

I was 19 when I met Jason, and back then I had little love for the so-called beautiful game.

It was only at 21, after experiencing the buzz of being in a packed-out stadium and listening to fans chanting their support, that I became hooked.

There is nothing quite like watching your team (in my case, Chelsea) win.

Football always came first in my marriage, even at my church wedding in 1994 which was full of players and their partners.

It coincided with the World Cup and, as I exchanged vows with Jason, I could hear the hushed cheers from the pews when England scored.

Some of our guests had smuggled in small, hand-held radios and were listening to the match through headphones.

Of course, the wedding was booked long before the fixtures were confirmed, but it was in that moment of holy matrimony that I promised to take football to be my life — and I learned to love it.

Even when I was pregnant with my son James, now 21, and my waters broke in the stadium at Southampton’s home ground St Mary’s, football stole the limelight once again.

When I arrived at hospital and delivered James, Jason wheeled in a TV so he could catch the final half hour of the match.

I thought he had gone to get the midwife, but I was in too much pain to argue.

So ladies — or gents — I feel your Euros frustrations if football simply is not your thing, because it hasn’t always been mine either.

And if you think it’s hard work living with a football fan who’s grumpy after their team has lost, take it from me — there is nothing worse than living with an injured player.

They are miserable and frustrated having to watch from the sidelines, and EVERYONE knows about it.

When Jason was injured and struggled to walk, he sometimes used a bell to get my attention. You can guess where I really wanted to shove that.

Feel safe in the knowledge you won’t have to endure pulled ham-strings, torn ligaments and calf strains if your lazy fella sticks to the comfort of the sofa.

If your partner can’t get enough of the Euros — even if cheering on 500-1 no-hopers North Macedonia — but you don’t want to call full-time on your relationship, then just go with the football flow.

You’ve got this.


MY LESSON IN TACTICS

DON’T ASK QUESTIONS: Under no circumstances should you ask for an explanation of the offside rule while the match is being played, and steer clear of post-match analysis should their team lose.

ENJOY THE EYE CANDY: Relish watching fit men like Spain’s Marcos Llorente, running about in the heat but keep your eyes on the telly and not the slightly out-of-shape sofa pundit beside you swigging beer.

GIVE THEM SPACE: After a loss, brace yourself for it being the end of their world. But time is a healer, and they will come round eventually.

TAKE ADVANTAGE: Use the next four weeks as a bartering tool. If they insist on watching every match, fix up non-negotiable date nights. Now is the time to book that fancy restaurant you have always wanted to try – and of course you need the new outfit for the occasion.

THROW A PARTY: If you cannot bear the idea of watching the game, get some friends round for a few drinks in the garden –  but for the sake of your relationship, remember to show an iota of interest at half-time.

PLAN A GETAWAY: Your partner will spend the next four weeks in a bubble, so use it to your advantage. Pencil in a weekend away with your besties.

DROP GET-FIT HINTS: Look at the players in their shorts and, if your other half needs to shape up, drop hints, such as: “Darling, look how fit they are.” Or: “I bet you could be as good as them.”

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