Football is not just a sport; It is an identity too.
This is a personal manifesto about football.
As a child, like so many boys my age, I would play for two or three hours a day with my friends. Being competitive meant I was prepared to give any sport a chance. Football stayed, and it will remain so. Why we love the game is not something that crosses our minds too often, but, for me, it was this moment, the summer of 2000 when Chivu scored the unforgettable goal in England’s goal net, sending millions of Romanians into a state of euphoria.
We remember that game like being yesterday. But it was 17 years ago. Those were the Golden Times of Romanian football and with time all of us, Romanians, got used with the idea we won’t have anything similar to the World Cup of 1994 or 1998. I grew up in those times, and that legacy will live on with me.
Kids, young people, need role models around themselves. A sense of identification is desired. Those golden players were my role models. And not only mine but the whole country identified itself with them. The city where I grew up is known as having one of the richest cultures of football. I used that culture to develop myself as a person, and used the role models too. It helped me get through for most of my situations and now it ended as being my identity.
Never followed this passion as much as I wanted back in the day. Never played football on a professional level and it hurt me. You can say I never learned the true way of the game. But I kept following it since I was a little kid. And it payed off. It teached me self discipline and motivation on a personal level. Showed me how strong communities are built and the importance of team work. I am not the sort simply to stay at home, watching football on television. It’s fine for a game or two, but I want to be involved and I have found a number of ways to be close to the game.
My interest lies in what is happening outside of the pitch rather than the game itself. The prep talk, the morale, handling pressure is what makes me keep researching the world of football. That is why I had decided to read upon football theories and research my way through by reading autobiographies. I looked in all of these books to find patterns and ways of thinking. Learned what leadership means for sports people and how important Cultural Differences are within a team.
My goal is to figure out what is driving all professionals in the industry to push forward. But also trying to find about the mistakes they made and issues they have encountered. Nowadays I like to travel and see each city’s football culture. All of my journeys start with a visit to the local stadium when I travel. What I like most about these football books and stories is the opportunity to help people around me improve their thinking in their daily life, and, by doing this, improve myself.
Collecting jerseys is a tradition for me. I get one from wherever city I wind up. All of them bring me joy and they act as a daily reminder about what heritage means.
Furthermore, my research continues as you read this. I am taking small steps in learning the management of football. Sign myself for online courses in football management and history, as the one from University of Edinburgh. Together with setting up a network of football professionals while catching up with UEFA licence course literature.
If you have a recommendation of a book that I have to read or if you have a project in mind about football or sports in general write me at:
hello [at] jeanpopescu.com