PETALING JAYA: The television set is booked, the football jersey is out of the closet and the beers are chilling in the fridge.
Euro Cup fever is here and football fans are glued to the idiot box to catch the live telecast of the much-awaited games, mostly after midnight.
One 20-year-old student was so engrossed that he lost his sneakers and favourite football boots to thieves.
“I was very excited when watching the match on Sunday and I forgot to lock the gate. Thieves came in, ransacked our shoe cabinet and stole my favourite soles. I didn’t hear a thing,” said Mas Arif Mohd Harun.
Fortunately, most fans only have to deal with bleary eyes and groggy heads as they try to juggle football nights and working days.
For Roy Lee, 43, who is in sales, coffee helps him struggle through the day after a couple of hours of sleep.
“I have problems getting up but my office knows that I am a die-hard fan. The boss minds, of course,” he said.
“Football is a priority and football is life,” said Lee who is ready to take half-days off from work to ensure he does not miss important matches.
For non-football mad wives or girlfriends, the football season is often dreaded as they feel neglected by their partners.
Fortunately for Lee, his wife of 10 years is “immune” to his football madness.
A Red Devils fan since he was 11-years-old, he used to take his wife to Britain for two weeks just to watch the English Premier League.
Information Technology consultant Yoong Juan Lin, 24, is glad the matches are held after midnight because this does not disrupt her time with her boyfriend Jonah Lau, 28.
“I understand his need to watch football because he loves it,” she said.
However, if you have a spouse who is also football mad, life is bliss.
Managing director Joy Rajaratnam and her husband James Sundram, both 59, have been watching the games together for years.
Her husband’s job is to get the snacks ready and they woke up at 2am to catch Monday’s match. They cheered on their favourite teams in the television room while their grown-up son slept.
“Our son only watches when his team plays but we never miss a game,” said Joy, who added that she hoped France would be the Euro Cup 2004 winner “as they are the best team to watch as evident from today’s (yesterday's) match”.
She favoured Portugal but after they lost against Greece on Sunday she jumped ship and supports the boys in blue.
When asked whether her schedule of waking up at 2am and then going to bed at 4.30am would affect her work, Joy said “I am the boss so it doesn’t really matter if I am late but my staff better be at work on time!”
Not all football diehards have problems with getting to work.
“If you’re a football fan you will have no problem adjusting your routine for the matches,” said 38-year-old secretary from Kuala Lumpur who wants to be only known as Mike,
He said he slept at 6pm on Sunday and woke up at midnight to catch the 2.30am France vs England game yesterday.
He has pinned up the match scorecard published in The Star Euro 2004 special pullout to keep score.
“As a fan, you keep tab on how the teams that are not your favourites fare. I also catch up with friends and we discuss and analyse the matches. We usually meet at the pubs or the many 24-hours eateries which telecast the matches,” he said.
On serious betting, he said those who are into it, would know how to contact the bookies or runners.
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