My soccer groundhopping trips don't really begin until I talk footy at UK customs. And…
Vanishing Tradition: Talking Footy at UK Customs
I’m starting to really miss going through customs in the UK. The new kiosks are screwing everything up — and making life simpler and smoother. Whatever.
Other than the excitement of arriving in my tied-for-favorite country, the U.K. Border Force was also my first chance to talk footy with English blokes. (Sometimes it’s a lady, and that’s even better, of course.)
They always asked what I’ll be doing in the UK, and sometimes I’d say I’m here to watch some football. Here’s what happened once when I said that.
One time, the agent asked me who I support. First I didn’t understand him (it takes me a bit to adjust to the accent, especially when I haven’t slept) and I said “Fulham … unfortunately.” He smiled at this very-English-of-me sarcasm.
Then he said what so many English people say at this point: “Why?” Imagine an English person arriving in the US and saying they’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan. You’d want to know why, too.
Well, here’s the long answer. What I told him, though, was, “Well, they have a nice stadium, they used to have lots of American players, and they used to be good.”
He and his neighbor in the booth both smiled at this, he handed me back my passport with an “enjoy your trip,” and I strode into the United Kingdom, feeling like my trip had truly begun.