Agony and ecstacy

"Watching those scenes at the Etihad, as hard as it was, brought into sharp focus just what football means to people and how much joy it can give. Can any other sport offer such drama or hinge on such fine margins?"

- Nick Coppack,

14/05/2012 10:00, Report by Nick Coppack
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Blog: Falling for football

Nick Coppack reflects on a "ridiculous" climax to the Premier League season...

If nothing else, I think we all fell in love with football all over again on Sunday.

When the dust had settled and the shock subsided, I was reminded of the closing scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, says:

I thought of that old joke. You know, this guy goes to his psychiatrist and says, “Doc, my brother’s crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken.” And the doctor says, “Well, why don't you turn him in?” The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that's pretty much how I feel about relationships: you know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but, I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.

I think a lot of football fans feel the same way. We put ourselves through mental torture at times; we travel the length of the country on a weeknight in December to stand on freezing concrete steps for 90 minutes; we keep singing when we know in our heart of hearts that the match is lost; we enter only by a certain turnstile because to do so by any other means would be to curse the team and almost certainly affect the result.

We’re totally irrational, crazy and absurd. But we keep going through it because we need the eggs.

And just ask any Manchester City fan today if it’s worth it. Some of them have been chasing eggs for 44 years. Today’s helping – whether fried, poached or scrambled – will taste like nature’s finest caviar.

United fans, meanwhile, are left to reflect on what might have been. Yesterday’s emotional rollercoaster was unbearably tense. I know of one Red who even turned the TV off and went out for a walk: he couldn’t bear to watch.

It was, in a word, ridiculous – the most dramatic and see-sawing climax ever to a Premier League season. City were staring at the most unlikely of defeats as their game entered

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