Categories: Kunle Solaja


Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal that enabled City beat United in last weekend’s Manchester derby in the English Premier League has added another puzzle to the dilemma I face at home.
I am a passive supporter of Manchester United. In my family, only one of my three daughters shared that passion with me. But she has since ported on account of marriage.
I can’t blame her. Her husband is a fanatical supporter of Liverpool. I marvel at the way she reels out information on Liverpool. With this new convert, it is certain Liverpool is not walking alone.

Perhaps, I made the mistake of not including supportership of Manchester United as part of the bride price the groom should have paid before giving out my daughter in marriage.
If I can pardon her for the passion she shared with her husband, what about the rest of the family? My wife, a celebrated sports personality supports Arsenal. Owing to maturity on our sides, we have been able to manage our disagreement on which Premiership club our family should back.

My eldest child is however the worst culprit. The boy, or do I say the man, is an unrepentant supporter of Chelsea. He sees nothing good in the club I support, yet I supported his education to the masters’ degree level! Is this not a sign of being an ingrate? Kindly advice on how to beat him back into line to support my passion.
He was able to influence my last daughter who is very fond of me, to support his own Chelsea. So chronic she was in her support for Chelsea that she cried uncontrollably after my Manchester United beat ‘their’ Chelsea FC in the 2008 European Champions’ League final match in Moscow.

To commemorate that win, as I was in London at the time, I bought Manchester United’s branded items. This brought the division in the family to a peak. I envisaged it. So I had bought other duvets for each member of the family in accordance to the club supported.

I bought six duvets, two of which were of Manchester United as one of my daughter’s was still on my side. The rest belong to Chelsea and Arsenal.
Feeling with excitement as my Manchester United had become European champions; I wanted to spread the club’s branded duvet on the bed. My wife objected on account that the emblem had ‘red devil’ and from religious point of view, we cannot share our room, let alone the bed, with the ‘devil’.
“We don’t want to be experiencing nightmares”, she explained. I acquiesced. She brought out the Arsenal branded duvet to spread on the bed. I instantly objected, explaining that it shared the same characteristic with that of Manchester United.

Apart from both being red, I explained that Arsenal’s crest has a cannon pointing eastward. She is from the East. Why should we have an emblem with a gun pointing towards the direction of my in-laws? “Tufi-akwa”, God forbid! I had to explain that there was a wise saying admonishing one not to sit on gun powder. Will it then be wise to sleep on a machine gun?

She agreed to my wise counsel which could only come from a Solomon. My Christian name of course is Solomon. So we could not spread either Manchester United or Arsenal’s duvet on our bed. What I lost in the Man. U duvet was the gain of a chronic supporter of the club.

Lucky Femmy Erinjogunola who is now of The Nation newspapers. This fanatical supporter of Manchester United was the beneficiary of the Manchester United’s branded duvet.

 So fanatical was his backing to the club that we had to always excuse him from handling major pages anytime Manchester United lost a match. Otherwise, we were bound to have some costly errors on the pages.

 He would be over the moon and work like someone under the influence of steroid any time Manchester United won a match. Two weeks ago when I last spoke to him, he implied he was still single. I pray his wife shares his passion for peace to reign at home.

  Back to my own family palaver. I have soft spot for Shooting Stars. My wife from Enugu State is a supporter of Enugu Rangers. Both clubs met last Saturday in Ibadan in a league match. 

  We were both in Ibadan on Thursday for an event. But we did not want to stay till Saturday to watch the match which was of great importance to both teams. Besides their traditional rivalry, my Shooting Stars needed the match badly to steer off relegation zone in which they were dangerously gravitating towards. 

  Of course, her Enugu Rangers needed the match to win a first league title in 32 years. It is my dream to see that wish come true. I love the club which I actually supported when it met the then IICC Shooting Stars in the 1975 Challenge Cup final.

  For ‘peace’ to reign, we both opted out from watching what was a potentially a cracker. But someone remarked that sports, especially the peoples’ passion, football, were to engender mutual friendship. Why then is each person in my house suspicious of one another when it comes to the league ties – either the English or the Nigerian premiership? 

  Thank God, we have a united front when the Super Eagles or any representative team of Nigeria is playing. Please, I need candid advice on how to handle the English Premiership palaver.

atuma :

View Comments (1)

  • Apparently you have aged gracefully like Alex Faguson!The younger generation know better soccer and they add a little bit of patriotic zeal to it.That is why Nigerians will support any clubside that parades a nigerian,including WBA,Bolton,Everton and more recently Man city.Grandpa,if you think Range Rover was the best Jeep ever,try the new generation SUV's.My advice is flow with the new generation of soccer fans you will be pleasantly surprised at how much soccer analysis and history they can impart in our aging minds and that actually makes me feel younger at heart.

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