I spend such a lot of time watching football, often managing seven live games a week on TV, plus going to football in the flesh, and such a lot of time reading about football in the newspapers. I really don't know how I manage to squeeze in other things. Such as living.
"Are you still on those back pages? You must have memorised every word, it's pathetic." Actually, pet, I've been skipping. Which is true - I have a long list of football stuff I do not read.
Just as well. If I made space for it all, I'd be - well, I can't think at the moment, I'm reading this good piece, will you stop interrupting when I'm busy.
What I am not reading at present is stuff about Slapper or Bladder, or is it Blatter? When I see space devoted to the latest scandals and fiddles at Fifa, I think, oh goody, I can skip this. In fact, I skip anything to do with FA officials, the Premier League, the Football League, the Nationwide, the Eddie Stobart Heavy Vans league, anything at all to do with football administration. Yes, I know their decisions, their scandals, their stupidity, will end up affecting me and all punters. But I think, so what - they're chancers, on the make, and when they go, we'll get another lot, much the same. Just like politicians.
I don't read investigations about football club finances, though I admire the research, the turgid annual reports that have to be ploughed through. Since I was a lad, clubs have been going bust, yet we haven't had a big collapse yet. I caught a headline last week saying Bury were finished, or was it Chesterfield, but moved my eyes on quickly, which I'm sure everyone does, unless they're from Bury or Chesterfield.
Each week, I rush for the Cumberland News to see if the sale of Carlisle Utd to some Irish bloke has gone through, a saga that has gone on for months, but at the last moment, old rotguts Michael Knighton says, ha ha, fooled you, then there's another delay. I'm fascinated by this story, but I can't believe anyone outside Carlisle is.
Are Leeds bankrupt? Will there be 600 footballers out of work at the end of the season? Yawn, yawn. Every newspaper now employs a specialist on football finance, which keeps them off the street, so we're getting more and more of such stories. I met Tom Bower in the street the other day (a different street), who did those good biogs on Maxwell and Branson, and I said, what are you doing, Tom, and he says he's working on a book about football finances. Dear God, they're all at it. And here's me, a world expert on footer, currently doing a book about adoption.
This stuff about Carlton and Granada and the future of ITV Digital, their football channel which is losing millions, will affect me, as I've paid for a year ahead, so I'll be spitting if it collapses. But when I see a story about it looming my way, all I feel is incredible boredom.
Punch-ups, red cards, appeals, angry managers protesting, rows with refs, crowd trouble, was it over the line or not, oh spare me. There's a whole host of passing nonsenses that TV commentators insist are "talking points", but which I find no one is talking about in our house, not where I sit.
So what does command my attention on the sports pages? Well, it has to be football, for a start. I never read a word about any other sport. If pushed, if there's absolutely no football on the telly, even women's, or Botswana second division under-11s. I watch rugby, but I would never read about rugby.
I read the main football match reports, even if I've seen the match, watched it on telly, heard it all on Sports Report. I love the post-match quotes from the managers. I like it even better the next day, especially after a big game, when the star football writers have had time to get their great minds round the implications and have found shapes and patterns.
I read all the football columnists, watching them following each other, picking up the same ball and running with it, usually in the same direction. I love any interview with a footballer, even though the stars do disappoint these days. They give so little, of their time or interest, and the reporter has to pad it out, poor sod. Those from the lower divisions are much more interesting.
I enjoy anything about foreign football. There's more than there was, but still not enough for me. I like to know what's happening in the main foreign leagues, the top teams, leading players. I like to know how football is played and perceived in other countries, how it fits into their culture.
I love transfer gossip, about who is on the move, what's been bid, knowing most of it will turn out to be rubbish or is pure kite-flying by agents. The tabloids are good at getting these stories - about the only thing they are good at.
That's the interesting thing about football coverage today - the broadsheets have overtaken the tabloids, in quantity and quality. It's not a matter of the intelligence or writing ability of the tabloid reporters, as these days good ones move easily between the two. It's the tabloid editorial thinking, still willing to pay fortunes for ghosted columns by star players who now don't need the money and have nothing to say, or by blowing up stupid talking points out of all proportion.
Another really interesting thing about footer coverage is that one awfully serious mag now includes it. And so well. Sometimes.