Sport Comment: Football season’s climax satisfies our irrational biases

John Inverdale
THERE are few things more capable of provoking utterly ludicrous mood swings than an idle Sunday morning studying the football league tables.

With the exception of Crawley, about which I find it hard to form any opinion, it’s difficult to be ambivalent about a single team in the entire top four divisions, as one single experience with that town or an individual from it, can colour your judgement for ever more and impact on how you want their football team to perform.

So it was yesterday that the following thoughts zig-zagged their way through an addled mind at the breakfast table.

Want Sunderland to stay up, and was therefore grateful later in the day for the thumping victory that saw them jump out of the drop zone. Interviewed their groundsman a few years ago who was one of the most charming people I’ve ever met.

Want QPR to get back into the top division. I just like Harry Redknapp, no other reason.

Want Reading to miss out on promotion. Cannot stand the one-way system and the railway station.

Want Birmingham to be relegated down to League One. Had an extremely unpleasant encounter with a traffic warden outside St Andrews 10 years ago and have never forgotten it.

Want Scunthorpe to win promotion to League One. Car broke down outside the ground 30 years ago and a kind guy towed it to a nearby garage.

Want Chesterfield to go up. You can never get enough of that spire.

Want Bristol Rovers to go down. Have never forgiven them for selling their Eastville ground decades ago to a giant superstore, and taking away part of my childhood.

The relegation battle at the bottom of the Premier League is the most baffling conundrum of all, though.

Like Sunderland, but like Norwich too. Nice place, nice people.

Love Cardiff as a city, can’t bear the football club. Now that’s awkward.

Fulham. Everyone loves Fulham in a cuddly kind of way, except they’ve stopped being cuddly recently with the shambolic handling of the managerial situation.

Sadly West Brom are almost safe. The catering facilities for away fans at their ground are a disgrace. That should be enough to get the Premier League to dock them a few points, and send them down. Surely.

And so it goes on. Incidents of no consequence prompting irrational emotional allegiance to, or antipathy towards, places of otherwise minimal interest.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.

Yours, Confused of London