Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Who Ate All the Empanadas?

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Who Ate All the Empanadas?

Article excerpt

Nature intended kick-off to be at three on Saturday afternoons, so I still can't get my head and my ass and my turn around a 12.45 start. Such as on 13 March, Spurs v Blackburn. What to eat, followed by when? Oh, the agonies of deciding.

I remember asking my sister years ago when she was having a glass and a fag--why do you have both together? Surely it's better to savour pleasures one at a time? Which was very prissy. And stupid.

I don't think I ever watch a football game, in the flesh or on telly, without stuffing my face at the same time. I've already ordered the Beaujolais for the World Cup. On a Sunday at home, with two matches to watch, I have so many items of fruit, oatcakes, bits of cheese and drinks lined up, it's like a branch of Morrisons. I do try to be sensible, to limit or at least stagger the input. It's useful having the minute clock in the corner of the screen. Another 60 seconds, I tell myself, then I'll have a gulp. In five minutes, I'll try the plum, see if it tastes as mouldy as it looks. Then at half-time, wow, I'll rush down and make fresh coffee. Life's good, following food--I mean, the football.

From the Victorian beginnings of football, fans have drooled over pies, with certain clubs becoming celebrated for their shit-hot pies, usually while their team played run-of-the-mill shit. And Bovril: the very letters make me drool.

It's the same abroad. If you go to a game in Spain, the fans chew these sunflower seeds, all the way through, spitting out the chaff, so at the end they are sitting on what looks like a mountain of flour. …

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