|One of my hearts|
Supporting Union is akin to having two hearts. A second soul is something that I imagine nourishes you. A second heart would be a disability and could possibly kill you. I woke up this morning, stooped over the radiator to warm my hands before writing and peered down into the Hof. Only one set of footsteps soiled the snow. The left-hand side must be the early risers. Not a footprint from the right hand side at this early hour.
As I gaze upwards and study the small narrow rooftops, covered in a flimsy blanket of snow, I wonder what the weather is like in Birmingham and Cologne. Two hearts, pulling at each other, both eager for the blood, the knowledge that keeps them beating. Sunderland face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns today. A compact ground. A good footballing side at present. A tough game for my hometown club. Union travel west to play Köln. Another compact ground and both sides are playing well.
I'd started the day watching a clip from a Sunderland game against Dynamo Moscow. I was disappointed we got beat 1-0. It was over 60 years ago. The 'joker of Roker' Len Shackleton was the star in those days for the Bank of England Club. Know your history, know your roots and you'll understand the people. Well, maybe if you can fathom the beautiful north-east accent. Full of warmth, passion and charm.
After watching that clip I'd read an e-mail from Michael from the Eiserne Botschafter and uploaded two pieces of lost property on to our Facebook page. How would Union get on today I thought as I messaged my partner in crime Andrew. I went for a 3-2 win. I knew Sunderland would get beat so focused on Union. I was not sure if I'd see either game due to making arrangements for moving apartment. Hopefully I'd see all of the Union game.
So, what is it like having two hearts? You worry more, you get beat more often and you make ludicrous plans such as attempting to see both teams in the space of 24 hours. That story is to follow. However, your life is enriched as you make new friends, learn a new history and celebrate more goals. Friendships are formed and molded by results. Off to the pub to celebrate after a Friday night game. Nobody fancying even a coffee after a drab game on a Saturday as half of the city is ravaged by flu.
Football, like learning a language, is not always easy. The results don't always go your way but you make friends, share experiences and you're a better person for it. Give me two hearts, two souls. 6 points today would be brilliant. I have a sneaking suspicion it may just be the two though!
PS - Sorry if you have Phil Collins in your head right now.