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Keane

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Subtle Knowledge

During half-time of Wednesday’s Real Madrid v Bayern Munich

semi-final second leg, I decided to call my nephew. He is 19 years old, studies journalism at university and writes a football blog.

​Boy can he talk!

​I politely switched the television to mute to speak with him, and did not hear any part of the second half. To make this experience even more daft, my feet were soaked in water, as I had planned to cut and paint my toe nails. One hour and twenty minutes soaked in water.​

​During our conversation, my nephew remarked on how surprised he was that I knew so much about football.

​No, he and I had not just been introduced to each other. He grew up with me, watched me play football, at one stage I had actually coached him. At this point, the part of me that was not worrying over my pruned toes had concerns as to this young buck’s short term memory.​

​What do people think of females who are involved in football? I am not referring to middle aged white men in suits, I am talking about our friends, family members, work colleagues, and all of the in-between people.

I make a conscious effort to be immersed in football

I know about football because I had competed at a pretty good level for 20 years and have been involved for a further 3 years. If I had not picked up any information along the way, things would have to be seriously wrong!

​Also, I totally love the game. I am entitled to.

 I am better informed in comparison to the guy that sits in the local pub talking about the game. That is because I make a conscious effort to be immersed in football. Apart from my body being a temple – and so I tend not to hang out at pubs – I want to be surrounded by football and football people all of the time. I talk, tweet, visualise, day dream, participate.

 After our telephone conversation had concluded, I felt good about ‘chewing the fat’ with my nephew. I do like speaking with him. He seems to think that he sees things for the first time, before others. His perspective is fresh, though he does not seem to realise that his experiences are simply re-cycled, lived before by many others. He loves Arsenal. There is nothing that I can do about that.

I unmuted the television. I listened to Adrian Chiles shouting through the wind and chanting fans as he addressed the pundits Gareth Southgate and Roy Keane (pictured).​

I have a deep admiration for Roy Keane. He is one of my heroes. I have read his autobiography, uploaded his iconic google images and watched his DVD. Each time I have seen him discuss the game in this new role of his, I have always thought how uncomfortable he looked as a pundit. I suspect Roy Keane has unrealistically high demands of the game and others.

I want to be surrounded by football and football people all of the time

 How long will he last in this guise? I recognise a comparison to the guy in the pub.

​I would not want my (growing) knowledge of the game to be curtailed.

This article was published in Total Football magazine

http://www.totalfootballmag.com/womens-football/the-helen-nkwocha-column-subtle-knowledge/

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