This article was originally published by VICE Sports Netherlands
For a decade, Nick Hay* lived the life of a football casual, travelling the Netherlands to watch his team – and getting involved in a fair few scraps along the way. In this article, Nick explains how he combined his life as a casual with his career.
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An experienced office worker might write with a typing speed of 150 keystrokes per minute. Now, imagine doing the same with two broken fingers. You wouldn't achieve more than 30 per minute.
So there I sat in my office, wearing a navy blue Hugo Boss suit, suffering from severe pain.
See, you wouldn't easily be able to say to your boss: "I'm going to the hospital with my two broken fingers, since yesterday evening I went out pounding at a football game. You've probably read about it in the newspapers." The fact that my double life as a football hooligan wasn't without risk was made very clear to me that Thursday morning, about 30 times a minute, give or take.
Once, at the 50th birthday party of my former father-in-law, I had to leave suddenly and abruptly. My friends stood at the door, and their car was ready to leave. Our opponents had been seen in a large mob downtown. Before I closed the door behind me, I quickly grasped my wife's uncle's favourite umbrella. It could come in handy. I didn't arrive home that night; instead, I slept at the local police station on a grubby mattress and a plastic pillow. I still distinctly remember how air puffed out of a small hole in that pillow each time I turned my head on it.
When I came back home, I found pieces of paper with telephone numbers on them everywhere. They were torn out of the telephone book and contained numbers of local police stations and hospitals. After I got arrested, I hadn't sent any word to my family. While I was getting frustrated that night because of some air puffing out of my pillow, they were in a panic at home and trying to mobilise the whole city. Unsurprisingly, two weeks later, my relationship with my wife would come to an end.
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