Journalists beat the Tory MPs at conference and it's all downhill from here
I appreciate out of context that sounds, at best, completely insane, but then I’ve just played at a Premier League ground.
Not because I’m good at football, far from it, but instead because each year at the conferences the men’s lobby team play against the MPs.
It is no exaggeration to say this is the highlight of my working calendar, an event that while good for contact building is more importantly good for how I feel.
I love football, I think about it all the time, am in group chats solely to discuss it, and have made friends or fallen in love helped by a shared admiration of Tottenham Hotspur.
But unfortunately I am just an enthusiast, lacking the talent that makes people millionaires, and instead simply losing sleep over it.
My footballing highs take place on cold overgrown pitches in the middle of nowhere, against teams I have no real affinity with.
That changes at the political conferences, where we are fortunate enough to play on pitches far above the standard we deserve, in this case Villa Park.
The political conferences give journalists and MPs, people who speak to each other obviously, a chance to face off.
It’s not pally, it’s not representing a closeness between us and those we should hold to account, but instead a fun chance to kick and shout at ministers (in a nice way).
What’s more, I didn’t think I’d play, having sprained my ankle in the previous fixture, giving me sleepless nights and worry that somehow this once-in-a-lifetime event might pass me by.
Yet through a combination of industrial painkillers and an ankle brace, I made it through, playing at a club that once won the European Cup.
Winning 3-2, whatever happens next, I have this. Writing about austerity, tax cuts for the rich, and the Tory party eating itself, this is a comfort I can hold onto.
I didn’t score, we didn’t keep a clean sheet, but I was present for the win, if not directly involved.
Whatever happens in my life, I’ve won at Villa Park, and how many people can say that?
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