Mondays with Matthew (on Tuesday): Sport – let the games begin

Post by Matthew Lodge

lewis

The United Kingdom has a new champion! Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton was crowned world champion at the end of yesterday’s end of season Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. British newspapers are full of images of a jubilant Hamilton and headlines such as the “Start of something special” and “Best day of my life”. Perhaps the fact that he beat his team-mate and long-term rival, German driver Nico Rosberg, makes the victory seem even sweeter. For the UK, our rivalry with our European friends always adds an extra twist to the competition.

So what if journalists play down the fact that Hamilton and Rosberg both drive for a German team? Painful memories of England’s exit from this summer’s FIFA World Cup, and Germany’s victory, are long forgotten. Glory is in the moment and the victor enjoys the adulation. Who cares if Germany won the World Cup, we have Lewis!

Well, lots of people care, and not just 80 million justifiably proud Germans (congratulations mein Freund), but that was last summer.

Today, I feel Kuwait’s pain. Losing 0-5 to Oman last week appears to have caused a national shock. As a Briton, I’m not unused to sporting disappointment. Don’t misunderstand me, I am no football expert. I enjoy a kick-around with the kids, but that’s it for soccer. However, I learned a few years ago that it’s very difficult for a British Ambassador not to take an interest in sport, and football in particular. This initially posed a problem for me. Apart from my rather limited ball-skills, I had grown up playing rugby, hockey, and athletics. I have always enjoyed watching the World Cup and European Championships, but not much more. Suddenly I needed a “team”. Naturally, I chose Liverpool. I was born there. I also remember Kevin Keegan, John Toshack and Kenny Dalglish. So I have become a Liverpool supporter. At least I’ll never walk alone.

liverpool

Except, here in Kuwait, I keep meeting Arsenal or Chelsea fans. Why is that? Where are all the Liverpool supporters? I did meet a Tottenham supporter the other day. And of course, I know about Kuwaiti links with Nottingham Forest and Ebbsfleet United. I’ve even met some enthusiastic Kuwaitis who fly to the UK to watch the occasional match before heading home again the following day. That’s more dedicated than I’d ever be, but it’s great to know that football is so popular here. It has also been good to learn about other Kuwaiti sporting interests – and successes: the shooting team and other medallists at the Asian Games in South Korea this autumn; the early morning cycling clubs out on the Gulf road every Friday; the numerous youth football clubs playing across the city; and the Triathlon that took place last month. People taking part in these activities may have been disappointed too by last week’s score. But they keep training, enjoy the competition, and play for the fun and thrill of the game.

People always rediscover their love of sport. Anyone and everyone can have a go. It brings people together. What do you think of sport in Kuwait today? Can more be done to help people enjoy the benefits it brings, and the joy it can give?

Post by Matthew Lodge
British Ambassador to Kuwait
Instagram: @HMAMatthewLodge Twitter: @HMAMatthewLodge


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19 comments, add your own...


  1. MS says:

    LIVERPOOL AL THE WAY….. YNWA
    BEEN SUPPROTING THEM SINCE I REMEMBER BUT STILL DIDNT SEE THEM WIN THE EPL….BR DIDNT DO SO WELL IN THE TRANSFER MARKET AND LOOKS LIKE WE ARE GOING BACK TO THE OLD DARK DAYS AGAIN …RUMORS SAY RAFA MIGHT BE COMING BACK SO I’M A BIT EXCITED ABOUT THAT.
    OVER HERE THEY ARE MORE INTO REAL MADRID AND BARCELONA WHICH IS A BIT BORING TO A GUY WHO FOLLOWS EPL. DEF THE BEST LEAGUE ON THE PLANET….YNWA

    • M! says:

      When was it not dark days? Last season whey Gerard literally let the trophy slip ;) I love how Liverpool wrote a book about how they finished second now thats embarrassing

      • Patrick says:

        How is it embarrassing? It’s not an unusual thing to do, especially given Liverpools history in English football. You have this team that was a giant in the past, nearly achieving its dream, having nearly an entire country supporting the captain and the club and nearly winning the entire damn thing. This is a story that a lot of people love, the underdog vs. everyone.

        Most fans knew it would take a miracle to win the trophy. The team was on a huge winning streak and sustaining that momentum is difficult, for any team. It was an incredible year of football.

  2. BraveArc says:

    Finally, a fellow LFC supporter.
    Sadly, the way we’re playing at the moment, not a lot of people are tempted to support us, too many choose the easy teams to support and the few who do, here we are, hoping beyond hope that one day, we’ll be back to where we should be.

    YNWA

  3. Patrick says:

    I’m a Liverpool supporter too and you tend to see less of us here because of the lack of success the club has had in the past few years. Most of the teams that are have a sizable fanbase in Kuwait are teams that have been winning trophies or that have done alright in the Champions League. Other reasons that teams like Chelsea and Arsenal have a lot of fans here is that they’re situated in London, which is obviously a popular place for Kuwaiti’s to travel too.

  4. Kuwait says:

    You could have said Manchester United and had a huge fan-base :)

  5. ashraf says:

    Yeah… Liverpool.. Bleh!

    to find liverpool fans.. you may wanna look at people in age group 40+.. since its been 25years since they last won the league.. on that note.. happy silver jubilee ;)

    to be frank.. there are a very little liverpool fanbase coz they haven’t been winning.. and there are hardly anybody here from liverpool to support them…

    you will find most of the people supporting Manchester united, arsenal, chelsea & recently manchester city.

    i started following football only few years back.. coz of Beckham, n then Rooney, ronaldo and yeag giggs was always around… since then I’ve made this special connection with Man Utd that the way they play can make or brk my day..

    anyways, Glory Glory Man united…

    and yeah.. liverpoolians are and will be a bunch of sad faces walking together ;) atleast you are not walking alone ;)

  6. LRg142 says:

    What I don’t understand in AbuDhabi and in Bahrain is why they are spending that much of money if there isn’t a national company or even an Emarati or a Bahrani F1 driver? I am not against the idea but at the same time it does not make any sense logically and economically.

    As for football and any other sport. All the sports clubs in GCC countries are owned and run by the government. Once they allow the clubs to be able to be in stocks exchange and act independently by the owner ( as Nottingham Forest for example ) then we can say we have true sport in our country.

    As for our only achievement in the Olympics by the shooting team, The shooting club is getting his funds personally by his highness the Emir of Kuwait. Once we get rid of government bureaucracy like the shooting club then we will never walk alone :)

  7. MS says:

    too many glory hunters over here…. my friend supports a team every year.
    no loyalty towards football overhere thats why people prefer Rmadrid & Barca a league where there is no competiton .
    We will bounce back bring back the Moore family ….YNWA

  8. Nasser says:

    Finally! We found our arsenal of Liverpool FC supporters! #YNWA !

  9. M Khajah says:

    I believe there are couple of ways to improve football in Kuwait:
    -Bring back the middle school/high school football competition between the schools in Kuwait and GCC region
    -Provide medical city/training facilities for athletes (something like Aspire in Qatar)
    -Privatize local clubs
    -Provide a long-term plan for each team and its capabilities
    -Nutrition awareness at schools

  10. Yousif says:

    there are so many LFC supporters in Kuwait and most of them are the old generation ..one of them is our prime minister.
    this is because LFC were dominant during the 80s. i remember when i was a kid my father used to tell me come and enjoy proper football by watching the legends kenny dalglish, ian rush and so..
    that is why i grow up as a passionate LFC fan and what even made it sweeter i went to college at Liverpool spending 5 years and living 5 minutes from anfield. hope one day we could meet and watch liverpool playing in the FA cup final this year as it seems like our only hope..

  11. Oz says:

    Liverfools :P

    MAN UNITED for life :D

  12. fahad says:

    You’re British, how can you call it soccer?!

  13. Neil says:

    Dear Sir,
    glad to hear you are enjoying life here in Kuwait and its great to have 1 more Liverpool fan. If you are finding it difficult to track down other Liverpool fans might I suggest holding a “Kop at the Embassy” evening, have a game on the big screen outdoors, get a band in to entertain, the crowd with flags and YNWA belting out across the grounds. I reckon you would discover plenty of Redmen in Kuwait! and you could spoil us with Ferrero Rocher (sorry couldn’t resist, not often I get to email an Ambassador).

    regards

    Neil


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