A Player I Hate to Hate and Love to Love


Aug 26, 9:00

This was the day, the moment, I realised Gareth Bale would never play the white I want to see him play in again. Quite what broke the klaxon, I don’t know now, and likely will never know. 

I had suspected for quite a while that he was on his way out, but I clung to the somewhat irrational hope that he would stay, it made sense. It was rational at the time. 

But trying to rationalise the unknown is futile.

But that won’t stop me, or anyone for that matter.

He’s a home-bird, he has only played 6 months of truly world class football, the type of football expected of him at Madrid and even that was as a result of Andre Villas Boas going out of his way to make him world-class, he had a punditry deal with BT Sport in England, he was on the cover of FIFA 14 in a Spurs. He even gave an interview in which he said; “‘We’re all looking forward to the season, hopefully we can improve on last season – I’m sure with a few more additions to the squad we’ll be a lot better.”

Aug 27, 13:00 

Gareth Bale goes on strike. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t content, I was sombre, I was a spectre. The rest of the day I wandered around a ghost, I cannot remember that day. It was a sensation that I simply cannot explain. 

I vaguely remember the next week or so, a week I spent trying to complement it all, what to make of it all. I was seething, but that was just a token reaction to something I didn’t understand and something I didn’t want. I knew I wasn’t actually seething. Just trying to comprehend it, and failing. 

Sep 7, 20:00

I finally understand.

I neither love nor loath Gareth Bale, I have a feeling of neutrality towards him. The respect I had for him has vanished. Replace by an empty abyss of nothingness. This was the ghoulish feeling I had.

I spent 4 years pouring my heart into Bale, loving to love him. I grew an affinity with him over the years. Through his free kick versus Arsenal what seems like a million years ago, through his karate kick goal against Stoke, through Inter Milan at White Hart Lane and the San Siro, through his hat-trick versus Aston Villa, through his 6 months of taking on demi-god form, I grew an affinity with him. I loved to love him and still do.

I managed to fool myself that he was thankful of all the fans had done for him, I fooled myself into thinking that he appreciated how we adored him. 

But he doesn’t and didn’t

I thank Bale for all he had done but I can’t appreciate his greatest in the way I’d like.

He’s a player I hate to hate. 


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