Dieu me protège

God protect me (from myself)

Written by: Richard Finn
Artwork by: Eamonn Dalton
Pat Bamford hiding his eyes with his head in his hands. It could be from any game since 2018

Fucking Leeds. Between remembering to write this, and opening the app on my phone to write it, I forgot what the fuck I was doing. I grasped wildly for the forgotten thread of intent. “Was it food? Sex? Work? Family? Friends? Money? Leeds? Ugh, it was probably Leeds. Fucking Leeds. I hate Leeds.” Happily, this time, it was to describe a consolatory mantra that has seen me through supporting Leeds United while they play football. An appeal to the old dead god of my youth to protect me from pain, misery, and sadness. To protect me.

I mumble it to myself in my mostly poorly maintained second tongue, French, which lends enough estrangement to distance it from the rest of my typically more agricultural Elland Road vernacular (e.g., “CARD THE CHARACTER,” “HARM HIM,” “PRICK,” and so on). I don’t remember where this came from. It could have its roots in shouting at Sol Bamba (mostly encouragingly) and Souleymane Doukara (mostly disparagingly) in French.

“Dieu me protège,” I would say, pretending I had invented prayer. “Dieu me protège. Dieu me protège,” mumbled as yet another Burnley team waltzed past us to another of their baffling promotions. “Dieu me protège.” The repetition itself becomes its own fulfilment through diversion and a focusing of will and desire.

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