I fell in love for the first time in 2003, at the tender age of four.
I was at the void deck, watching my brothers and our neighbours play football.
As the only girl there, I felt slightly out of place and didn’t dare to join the boys.
But halfway through the match, the ball ricocheted off the wall and rolled towards me.
Without much thought, I kicked it back to my brother.
When my right foot connected with the ball, I immediately knew what true love was.
Since then, football has been a big part of my life.
Heartbreak after years of happiness
After my brothers noticed my interest in the sport, they made me watch the Premier League (PL), which was then known as the Barclays Premier League, arguably the most popular football league in Singapore and the world.
The broadcasting rights to the league was owned by StarHub then, which I thankfully had at home.
Needless to say, I was often glued to my television screen, immersing myself in the different matches.
At five years old, I was already an avid Manchester United fan.
I remember buying my very first jersey— it was a home kit with Wayne Rooney’s name on the back. I wore it every time the club played.
My parents then bought me a Man U school bag and water bottle, which I carried around in school with pride.
But when I was 11 years old, things changed. The broadcasting rights to the Premier League went to another TV cable, which my parents refused to subscribe to despite me begging them countless times.
And so it happened— my first heartbreak.
The different stages of grief
If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected break up, you’d understand.
Like many others, I went through all the different stages of grief.
First was denial.
I’d still don my Man U jersey whenever I could. I’d still cut out pictures of Nemanja Vidić from the newspapers and paste them on my bedroom wall.
Despite not being able to watch them live anymore, I still routinely checked the results of Man U’s games.
I also searched up dubious links online to catch their matches wherever possible, braving myself through the low quality footages and disruptive ads.
But after a while, my denial turned into pessimism and resignation.
I tore off all of my Man U posters. I threw away my Man U bag and water bottle. I refused to wear the colour red whenever I went out.
I moved on.
To help me get over my grief, I watched other football leagues.
Thankfully, StarHub had a range of offerings, such as La Liga, the top football league in Spain.
A newfound love
It was love at first sight— me and FC Barcelona.
The club was at its prime then, with Lionel Messi, David Villa, Xavi, and Iniesta in the squad.
Their tiki-taka style of playing football completely mended my broken heart and gave it a new life.
My bare bedroom walls were soon decorated with posters of the Spanish club.
Even though my relationship with the club was still at its honeymoon stage then, I knew I had found true love.
It has now been 12 years and our relationship has only grown stronger.
I’ve been through thick and thin with Barca, from when we won the Treble, to when Messi was forced to leave the club.
I stayed loyal, and will always stay loyal to Barca and La Liga.
Maybe we can be on talking terms now
But recently though, the PL has been tiptoeing back into my life.
I mean, it’s hard to ignore its existence if you’re a football fan.
It’s the most popular football league in the world, even more so now with more prolific and diverse players, paired with the intense rivalries and competition.
It also didn’t help that I began dating a guy who’s a massive Man U fan. (Life really comes full circle.)
So I occasionally found myself watching YouTube videos of PL matches’ highlights.
Most recently, StarHub entered an exclusive partnership with PL for the next six years, making the league more accessible and affordable to Singaporeans.
With StarHub Premier+, everyone can enjoy Premier League action in 4K Ultra-HD, plus access instant replays, highlights and more at no extra cost.
I mean, how can I say no to this?
The new features include the option to watch two PL matches simultaneously on a single screen. You can also view the game from the perspective of your favourite player.
Additionally, the PL matches can be accessed from multiple devices so you can catch the games anytime anywhere, be it at home or on the go.
Users can also replay to watch key moments and highlights from the game.
More features, as well as price information on StarHub Premier+ can be found here. Sign up now to enjoy an early bird price for the Premier League and only be billed from August 6, 2022.
I’m not going to lie, with all these new features, I’m excited and eager to catch the new PL season.
Don’t get me wrong though, my heart and loyalty still lies with Barca and La Liga.
But I’m now old enough to know that it’s not healthy to stay mad and hold grudges.
Maybe the PL and I can be on talking terms now or, dare I say, friends.
Man U, however, would need to work a little harder to get my attention back. (Sorry not sorry.)
Top images via PL/Instagram.
This sponsored article by StarHub made the writer like PL again.