One man, 365 days and a whole lot of football: Tomasz Mortimer has completed an epic challenge that took him all over the world -- without really leaving his bedroom much.
From the Premier League to La Liga, the Argentina second tier, Chilean cup and Peru top flight, Tomasz has watched a match somewhere in the world every day for a year. And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, these contests have been available at the touch of a button.
The tweet that started it all ...
Okay, for the next 365 days I'm gonna attempt to watch at least a half of live football every single day. Here starts the thread...— Tomasz Mortimer (@TMortimerFtbl) 6 September 2017
Tomasz has been glued to his screen, primarily at home but sometimes in supermarket car parks, service stations or on a train, all in the name of football fandom.
Denmark's clash with Slovakia -- a curious story in itself and a fitting way to end this challenge -- brought an end to Tomasz's journey.
After 1,051 goals, 23 0-0s and more than a tinge of regret, it's time for the unthinkable: a break without football*.
First of all, why? Why do this?
Very good question -- one I've been asked a lot, as you can imagine -- and I've still not found an answer. It was kind of a whim, my mate asked whether he thought it would be possible and I was like: "I might see if it is." I didn't really think it through but once I'd wrote the tweet to start it, I though it would be too embarrassing to stop. So I guess I did the whole thing to avoid social embarrassment. Not a great reason.
What was the hardest part of the challenge?
I work a 9-5 job and I play football 2-3 times a week, so there were a lot of days where I wouldn't get home till about 10-11 p.m. and as a result, had to watch random South American games till about 2 a.m. in the morning with work looming the next day. Social events were also tough to attend, I can't imagine the number of people I've had to run away from or not see because I had to watch a game. I had to attend two music festivals sober so I didn't miss a game.
Was there any time when you thought? "No, I've had enough."
I don't think I ever got to that point, no. I definitely felt at times that it was a f------ stupid idea, and there were a few times when I was knackered and watching a game at like 1 a.m. where I thought: "Why am I doing this?!" but I never actually thought, nah, I'm going to jack it in. Honestly, the thought of that social embarrassment was too much. The shadow casting over me was heavy.
Al Ain 6-2 Al Wahda. Both sides competing for the league in a game described as the UAE Clasico. Al Ain were a man up and 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go, Within two minutes the scores were level, five minutes later it was 4-2 to Al Ain. It was just a ridiculous game with so much drama, and it basically won Al Ain the title. Plus, the fact it was niche made it even more fun.
Royal Antwerp 0-0 Standard Liege. Not only was it rubbish game, but it also spoiled my 51 day run without a 0-0 which made it even worse. I was fuming after that game and vowed never to watch the Belgian league on the run again.
What did your friends and family think?
I think some people thought it was somewhat impressive, but most people thought I was mad and an idiot, which is definitely fair enough. When I told people I was doing it, the response was pretty much always, "Why?" and even after 12 months I still never found a proper answer.
Any potential disasters: A stream cutting out, not being able to get to a TV?
My internet at my house is very dodgy, so many times I had streams slow down or buffer which was proper annoying, but I was never in real trouble, really. Thank goodness for my mobile phone and the European Union's decision to stop data charges abroad, I say. I actually had to up my data limit to accommodate my football watching, which was a bit annoying.
What have you learned from this?
I think what I truly learned from this challenge is that 4G on your phone is so reliable, and that no matter how much football you watch, it's still very good.
Would you do it again?
If I won the lottery I'd attempt to do it again but actually going to games and watching them in the stadiums, that would be really cool. But to do it like this? No way.
* Don't be silly. This weekend Tomasz is off to Finland to watch Hungary play in Tampere. We're not joking.