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August 2021

Losing my addiction: a confession of a former maniac

By Walter Broeckx

I have never been a member of the AA. And with AA I really mean the worldwide organisation Alcoholics Anonymous. An organisation that helps or tries to help people who are addicted to alcohol to stay sober. As I don’t drink alcohol at all I have no problem in staying sober of course. So I’m not addicted to alcohol. But based on things I have heard and seen on how they work I want confess my addiction to you.

Hi, my name is Walter and I am addicted to football. I want to share my story and show that cure is possible.

It all started in 1966. I was only a young kid of 5 years old when I first got in touch with my addiction. My father came home from the pub completely in shock. He had just seen the World cup final and that still famous goal/non-goal that gave England the world cup. The discussions in the pub still wasn’t over and he had to talk about it in length with my mother. Did the ball pass the line or not. The passion even outside England in a neutral country just in between England and Germany ran high. If my father could get so excited about football it surely is something interesting I thought.

And so it started. I started playing in the garden with my older brother. Then in the park. Then in school. Then in a local football club. But if that wasn’t enough I then had to watch every match they gave on TV. First my father, my brother and I got addicted. My mother not at first. But when her kids started playing in a real team and she came to watch us she also got addicted. Even more addicted than my father after a while. A match a 2.00 am on TV in a world cup far away? You could bet your money on it my mother was watching it. So I grew up in a family of football addicts.

To make things worse I then got addicted to Arsenal. And my local club. And any match on TV. I had to see it. I learned to know my wife. I told her about my addiction on having to play 2 matches each weekend (in 2 separate football associations), watch my local team on TV, watch Match of the Day on TV, watch German football on TV, watch European football on TV, watch world cups, watch international tournaments, in fact just watch every match on TV.  I told her that she had to take that on board with me. Lucky for me she did.

As happens when you are addicted you risk of neglecting you family. Your addiction takes the central stage in your existence. So I think I will have neglected my wife and kids from time to time. I confess…

I knew I was overdoing it from time to time but when the ref blew his whistle… blimey I even had to become a ref myself because of my addiction to football. I just couldn’t resist it. Just like an alcoholic probably cannot resist an open bottle in front of him. Unless he goes to the AA and manages to keep sober. Completely sober.

As with moth addictions there is not really a cure. You have to do it yourself to stop it. It is up to the alcoholic to say no when you offer him a drink. I will never offer an alcoholic drink to a person that I know who is an alcoholic by the way. But my TV company and the channels I can look at don’t think that way. They offered me my daily doses of football at any time of the day.

But there is a cure. I ‘m not saying you can get cured completely but there is a way in cutting it down to an acceptable level of using my drug.

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I ‘m really thinking of even setting up groups in the AA style. And I already have a name for this movement that could get as big as the AA. I will call it the BR. Not as catchy as AA but BR is telling the whole thing.

Because thanks to the hard work of BR I have become almost clean these days. So in honour of these great guys who turned my life around I would like to name my movement the BR and in written it should be something like Former Football Addicts. Or I could call it the FFA and the curing thing the BR. I ‘m still working on that one.

Now what does this BR means you will ask? Well in fact it is really simple. When it comes to the PL I have been addicted for many many many years. But since I have started the referee reviews and found that what I am watching is no longer football but some farce I have stopped looking at the PL matches. Even last season because of my referee reviewing work where I looked at almost each match to check the reviews and to see if the reviews were of high enough quality I watched more than 200 matches of the season.

Before that I watched each match that our sports channel showed from the PL. I saw them all. But since studying the PL and the referees and the bias/incompetence I got cured. As from this season on I barely watch any other match. I only watch when people point at some decisions and then I check it. But I don’t sit in front of my TV anymore and watch every match. Those days are over.

And I have to thank this to the letter R in my BR curing program. The R that stands for Riley. I ‘m convinced that he is the one that has made it possible for me to stop watching other teams apart from Arsenal. I now only watch the Arsenal matches and that’s it. That is an amazing turnaround for someone like me who was addicted like I was. Thank you Mike Riley. My wife and kids thank you a lot.

And the B you might ask? That is the B from Blatter. He is the one that cured me from watching international football. Although Arsenal was top of everything when it came to watching football my addiction was that big that I had to see world cups, European championships, CL, Europa League. But thanks to the smell of corruption that Blatter spreads in football I also got cured from that.

I admit that I don’t watch any other CL matches apart from the Arsenal ones. I don’t even see the finals anymore. I do admit that I did watched Olympiakos beat Manchester United. But that was because the Greek side had an Arsenal player (Campbell) in their team at the start. And when he got subbed after scoring a great goal I stopped watching.

So thank you Mr. Blatter. Thank you Mr. Mike Riley. Your actions have cured me from my addiction.  Mind you I don’t know if the TV companies will be willing to pay as much money in the future as there might be others who like me once had to see every ball that was kicked in the planet but who stop watching any other matches apart from their own favourite team.

And you know what? It feels good to only being addicted to Arsenal and no longer to the charade that is called football these days. I’m free! I AM FREE! Free at last…. Free at last. All thanks to studying the leaders in football that are ruining the game.

But can’t wait to come to London again next Saturday to see Arsenal play… not completely free and I do hope that that part of the addiction will never go away. It probably never will as long as Arsenal keeps being a beacon of light in the world of football that is ruled by the dark lords.

Today’s bumper set of anniversaries 

Anniversaries are published on the home page of Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society blog, along with the index to over 3000 Arsenal anniversaries through the years.

20 comments to Losing my addiction: a confession of a former maniac

  • Walter, so instead of AA you are proposing FFNVA – “Football Fans Not Very Anonymous”

    OK, I’ll join.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hello Walter ! Hello Tony ! I too was an addict to football ! Now I’m only addicted to the fortunes of Arsenal .
    I cannot sit in front of the tv and watch ANY other team play. Why waste 90 minutes of my life ?
    The WC as a sporting spectacle ended for me in 1990 .
    The EC is a non event for me too.
    Ditto the Bundersliga , La Liga ,the Serie A and the rest which is in my subscription but I don’t waste my time .
    But of late I ‘ve become addicted to this site and now open the computer at home to ‘engage’ with fellow Gunners and Gooners , at the same time laugh at the AAAA’s antics here .
    Thanks to you both and the rest of the hard core AKBs
    for this merriment !
    CHEERS !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And speaking of CHEERS !, sometimes I feel like this guy here – almost everybody glad that am here ! Right ?
    RIGHT ?
    Come on you guys !


    I also was the same way as Walter, Watched any game on the telly. In the last 10 years I scaled down my time spent on Football big time. The only thing about Football I care about is the Arsenal. If it doesn’t involve Arsenal, Then I don’t give a rat’s ass about it. World Cup, European Championship, Confed. Cup, Champions League, And all the rest. I DON’T FUCKING CARE. I wish that not one single Arsenal player would get picked for their national team. At the end of the season I wanna see all our players tucked away like eggs in their protective Styrofoam cartons. The Greed, Cheating referees, Thuggish players, Myopic F.A.’s, Corrupt Organizations that are in charge have ripped the love that I had for football right outta my heart. Meaningless Bullshit Friendlies where our players always come back injured, Stupid Motherfucking International Tournaments that end right before the season starts, Just so FIFA and UEFA can make their lucre, All impacts the Arsenal. Football managers who instruct players to kick the opposition cause they refuse or are too stupid to teach the game to be played in the proper manner. Archaic F.A.’s who refuse to leave the Victorian Age, Totally corrupt referees who toe the company line as set by rat-faced Riley. Blind xenophobic media who despise any aspect of the game not British, Boorish little cretin managers who feed the British media innuendos which they in turn suck down like titty milk. Thugs who masquerade as footballers whose only job is to kick more-skilled players to death. All these things and more have soured my love of the game. In spite of all that and many more, They can’t take my Arsenal away. Arsenal till I die.


    I’m with you. Fuck the internationals. Up Arsenal.

  • Rantetta

    Whether it’s BR or whatever, that’s a great article Walter.

    Those days when we were young – getting to know the game – hanging on to the commentators every utterance (you can’t blame a kid for that) – rushing home to see highlights.

    I bought a portable 12″ black+white TV when I was younger, and fixed it up in the back of a van, just so I didn’t have to negotiate watching footy with the owners of TV’s where I lived.

    Funny you mention the 1990 World Cup, BG. I was still so innocent, football-wise. In that tourney Cameroon were the big thing for me. Brian Moore was the long-standing ‘fair minded and smooth talking’ commentator. Ron “the Reducer” Atkinson was co-com. Atkinson ridiculed everything done by the African footballers, to the point where he questioned whether they had brains! Moore checked, “Don’t you mean ‘football brains'”? Atkinson never replied.

    Then I watched England v Cameroon… (2 penalties)

    The African’s play mesmerised me – to the point that when they came to play at Wembley, Feb ’91, I gathered 3 of my friends, and along we went. What a miserable night! The coldest in London that year. The England fans were horrible. Why did they even go? (I presume, to confirm their superiority or summat).

    After the match I took my friends to the Grosvenor hotel, where the Cam squad were staying. We gatecrashed, posing as journo’s. We took pictures. (Dave took a photo of me and Roger Milla, managing to leave our heads out, bah!)

    Over these years I tried to imagine the racism as incidental, despite witnessing drunken ‘fans’ shouting at John Barnes: “useless black ****”, at England matches! (Stewards were nowhere to be seen). I went to matches at many London grounds, and apart from at Arsenal, the abuse was soul destroying. How was I hooked on this game – where the excitement came from fearing for your life?

    There was the drip-drip of unfair play and decisions, sure, but until you KNOW it’s easy to think that that’s just what happens.

    I’d loved watching Ardiles and other foreigners, back in the 80’s. They were different. They added something. Even before that I’d chosen Arsenal. Hurrah.

    Due to travelling I mainly saw highlights of matches in the 90’s, except the World Cups/CL, which I watched in full.

    It was off to the pubs to watch footy in the ’00’s’. Live footy on a big screen, and by this time it was becoming obvious that teams and players were favoured. My mind would go back to Liverpool of the 70’s and 80’s. Vicious B’s! Then Slurgy!

    Then the move from Highbury to the Ems. I remember during close season – driving over to Islington to just walk between the 2 stadiums. I thought I was so clever and it’d be just me. Har har – the streets were full of tourists doing the self same thing. Taking pictures – standing on people’s walls – the lot.

    To see Arsenal cheated and their players broken up – live on TV, week after week, was such a downer. I don’t know how I managed myself between the ’06 assault on Diaby and the start of Untold. The rest is history – on these pages.

    But the change towards dissing all things Arsenal and Arsene has gradually weaned me off ‘other football’.

    Trouble is – maybe I’m in denial! I keep looking at matches where an Arsenal player is playing. So last season I watched Everton v Wigan – a cup match. The match where Mirales absolutely took Myachi out. No punishment. Hardly seen Ryo since. No meedja outrage. Before that – well, it’s too painful to recall the myriad shite that went on and has continued apace, but back to the WC’s – look at the last WC final. I still can’t believe the legacy of Howard Webb. Never mind all the shit going on in other matches.

    Walter educated me with the Fick Fufa series of articles, thanks. And of course, we’ve had the Olympics in London since then, and everything he wrote about Fufa/IOC came to pass.

    There’s so much more but this is already rather long. The question might be: Am I cured of non-Arsenal football addiction? Well, I skipped many group matches at WC2010, and even some of the later matches. I can barely remember what happened at the Euro’s (more corruption and racism?).

    To see how the craptitude affects some addicts, look at some of the comments on the last thread(s).

    Will there be a world war by or after Russia “host” the next WC?

    You nailed it better than me, Billfrommanhatten, tbh.

    I think I’d better get bloody cured of this addiction, eh?

    Except Arsenal, naturally. Organically. Beautifully. Wengerfully.


  • Rantetta


    but on another note – Joel Campbell may play well and/or score – against ManU and England. Will there be betting/rewards for English teams that break his leg when he comes to Arsenal – Eduardo stylee?

    I prefer to think Campbell will continue his development, be accepted into the Arsenal squad next season, and become a high-class player.

    Walter: Where’s the 12 steps, please?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Compared to you guys, am a newbie Gooner. It all started in Nov-Dec 2008. Weekends. Had to spend time. Watching football. 2-4 games every week. But something about ARSENAL, it just felt right…….

  • Menace

    It is great to know fellow football fans and fellow gooners have similar views to mine.

    I however, will not rest until PGMOL is disbanded and the monopolistic FA realise that Officials must be competitive within the Laws of Football.

    Looking forward to Arsenals success with sporting honesty and quality football.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Great thoughts, Walter.
    My addiction has always been Arsenal. Never watched Bundesliga or Spanish football. But… I watch anything remotely related to Arsenal. I watch France/England play to see Giroud, Kos, Sagna, Wilshere and make sure they don’t get hurt. I watch Sunderland who may be playing ManC next, which might affect their position in the table.
    Help me get rid of my addiction!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Every story you tell begins with, “We were really high and…”

    You’re a Bob Marley fan and you don’t even like reggae

    Mosquitoes get a buzz after attacking you.

    You think everyone is staring at you and there’s nobody in the room

    The lab technician testing your urine sample gets high off the fumes

    The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but you don’t mind being wasted.

    Your motto in life is “Why ask Why? Just Get High”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The number one sport –

    A woman, while touring a small South American country was shown a bullfight.

    The guide told her, “This is our number one sport.”

    The horrified woman said, “Isn’t that revolting?”

    “No,” the guide replied, “revolting is our number two sport.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    An AAAA vacation –

    Billy Bob and Luther were talking one afternoon when Billy Bob tells Luther, “Ya know, I reckon I’m ’bout ready for a vacation. Only this year I’m gonna do it a little different!

    The last few years, I took your advice about where to go. Three years ago you said to go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii and Earline got pregnant.

    Then two years ago, you told me to go to the Bahamas, and Earline got pregnant again. Last year you suggested Tahiti and darned if Earline didn’t get pregnant again.”

    Luther asks Billy Bob, “So, what you gonna do this year that’s different?”

    Billy Bob says, “This year I’m taking Earline with me.”

  • Sammy The Snake

    Are you guys telling me you won’t be ro watching Chelsea-Tots this evening?

  • OMGArsenal

    Walter….rather than the convoluted acronyms you’ve suggested, I recommend that we use the letters AAA for your association to cure Football addiction, for the following reasons:

    1)This lot are clearly anti-everything in Football, so will cure your addiction promptly.
    2)They are perfect examples of cretinous,moronic imbeciles so will discourage you from recidivism, out of fear of becoming like them.
    3)Their putrid and rancid characters will discourage you from ever watching a game in their presence, thus forcing you to diminish your addiction hopefully.
    4)Their feeble-mind and irrational discourse will confuse and corrupt your thought processes so that you’ll think watching Football is actually duck-hunting.
    5)Your family and friends will abandon you until you return to sobriety and sanity, meaning you avoid such losers and return to the fold.

    Anyway good luck with your battle, I gave up on trying to ¨cure¨ myself of this addiction and rather corrupted my wife, who is now a more ferocious fan of Football than I ever was. We put our kids up for adoption because they were distracting us from watching football…..what can I say?????

  • OMGArsenal

    By the way, AAA would be Anti-Arsenal Anonymous.

  • TommieGun

    Great article, I think that it’s very similar for me. So here is my confession:

    I was addicted to sports, in general.

    Missed my high school syntax exam because game number 5 in the Chicago-Series was broadcasted @ 3 AM.

    Missed a great school trip because the olympics were on.

    Missed a friend’s wedding because it was France-Spain in the world cup.

    It goes on and on.

    But football always came first. I didn’t miss any “big” match broadcasted in any of the 3 “big” leagues (england, spain, italy). Didn’t miss CL matches. And of course didn’t miss any Arsenal match.

    And Arsenal always comes first, and still comes first there days. Talking about going to extremes – I was in Alpe Dhuez a few years ago. Snowboarding is my biggest hobby. The weather was incredbly bad, -25 celsius. But it was ManUre playing Arsenal, and the match was not broadcasted in my hotel. So I walked, pitch black, -25 degrees, in the snow, from my hotel to the center of the village to this “Irish Pub” – bought a beer, saw Man U score, went outside for a smoke, came back in, the fuckers were leading 2-0. It ended 3-0, you all remember. But what you don’t know is that I had to walk 1.5 kilometers back, a bit drunk, very upset, in a blizzard. Will do it all over again, though.


  • TommieGun

    @ Bill, Walter, and anybody else who says – “I don’t give a fuck anymore about anything else BUT Arsenal, because of corruption, friendlies, etc.”.

    I want to understand your thoughts. If football is corrupt, to the bone, then I don’t see any point in watching any matches, even Arsenal matches. Actually – if football is corrupt, the LAST matches I’d watch would be Arsenal. Just too painful.

    So I have to believe that football is NOT generally and totally corrupt, and that the corruption is anecdotal and specific, and not omnipresent.

  • rantetta

    Why oh why oh why…
    Did I watch that pile of crap, Hull v Sunderland. Poor football.

    Addicted, after all.