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IF football is a game of two halves, it can also be just that in households – as Euros or World Cup mania drives a big wedge between couples.
From slapping a sex ban on a partner to demanding they do the lion’s share of the housework and even watching the same game in separate rooms, tournament season does not bring out the best in everyone.
From slapping a sex ban on a partner to demanding they do the lion’s share of the housework, here’s how football is a game of two halves in the house tooCredit: Roy Riley
With the latest Euros now in full swing, we hear from people who know only too well what it is like to clash with their other half when the footie takes over.
SEX is off the agenda for the next month for mother-of-two Emma Conn, 26, because partner Kyle Fox, 28, puts the game before their relationship.
Lash technician Emma — who lives with print manager Kyle, their daughter Mayci, eight months, and Emma’s son Charlie, five, from a past relationship — says: “If there’s a big tournament, like the Euros or World Cup, Kyle isn’t interested in our relationship, or sex.
Sex is off the agenda for mother-of-two Emma Conn, 26, because partner Kyle Fox, 28, puts the game before their relationshipCredit: Ian Davies
“Everything revolves around the football fixtures and him watching the matches with his mates. During the last World Cup, in 2018, I didn’t have sex with Kyle for the whole four weeks.
“To him, I was invisible, and I morphed into the chief cook and bottle-washer. I even tried wearing sexy underwear to get his attention, but I was wasting my time.
“When England took on Wales in that tournament, I had booked a restaurant for the two of us, but Kyle didn’t come home.
“He’d gone to a mate’s house then on to the pub. He completely forgot we had made plans. I was furious and although he apologised, I was upset for days that he hadn’t given me a thought.”
When Kyle and Emma began dating in 2017, he told her how much he loved his team Manchester United — but it was not until they moved in together a year later that she realised he was obsessed.
FIVE TVS AT HOME
Emma, of Desborough, Hants, says: “If he isn’t watching football on TV, he is working on his dream team selection and studying players’ performances.
“He makes me feel neglected and doesn’t show me any affection. He walks around with his iPad to keep up with all the scores, and talks about it with his mates.
“We have five TVs in the house and if more than one team is playing, then he has the different matches showing on each one.”
But with the latest Euros tournament set to run until July 11, Emma has slapped a ban on nookie to show Kyle she is more important than football.
She says: “I’m taking back control this year and have told Kyle we won’t have sex until the final match. It might sound harsh but we won’t have sex until he realises that my feelings matter.
Lash technician Emma says: ‘If there’s a big tournament, like the Euros or World Cup, Kyle isn’t interested in our relationship, or sex’Credit: Ian Davies
“I’m expected to cook, clean and look after the kids while he enjoys himself and bans me from the lounge.
“He has paid £1,000 for a new 75in TV and plans to have mates over for every England match. I’m planning to fill the time going shopping with friends and taking the kids on days out.
“But if Kyle rolls home late after watching football in the pub, I’ll make him sleep in the garage.”
Yet Kyle says: “The Euros is a big event and we’ve got to get behind our team. Emma might try to ban sex, but I think she’ll cave in first.”
HALF-Portuguese Clare O’Reilly, 42, and her English husband Jon Axworthy, 48, are avid football fans but support different national teams – so their 17-year marriage hits the rocks during tournaments.
Clare supports Portugal while Jon is a Three Lions fan — and with their teams set to potentially go up against each other in the knock-out stages of the current Euros, they are trying to rein in their rivalry for the sake of their relationship.
Clare O’Reilly and her husband Jon Axworthy are avid football fans but support different national teams – so their 17-year marriage hits the rocks during tournamentsCredit: Roy Riley
The pair, both journalists, live in Plymouth, Devon, with their children Eddie, 17, 12-year-old Sammy and Annie, ten.
Clare says: “While we’re both excited about what this tournament will bring, our teams could meet each other, so we have separate TVs ready.
“I’m half-Portuguese because my mum Irene was born in Madeira, so I share the same island blood as Cristiano Ronaldo. I’m fiercely supportive of the country.
“Jon’s as English as an oak tree. He can recall almost every score of the Mexico ’86 World Cup and still revels in Gary Lineker winning the Golden Boot and scoring the second-fastest hat-trick in World Cup history.”
The couple first came to blows over football during the 2004 Euros — their first major tournament as a couple — when Portugal beat England in the quarter-finals on penalties, their goalkeeper Ricardo scoring the winning goal.
RELATIONSHIP HUNG BY A THREAD
Clare says: “That was almost our last because our relationship hung by a thread afterwards.
“With England’s Euros dream in tatters, Jon accused me of being a lousy winner and I retaliated saying he couldn’t accept that Portugal was a far superior team to England.
“Our son Eddie was just a few months old but we didn’t speak for two days.”
But since that showdown, the pair’s rivalry has mellowed and they have made a pact not to criticise each other’s team. Clare says: “Whenever Portugal face England, we now watch it in separate rooms.
“We’ve promised not to bad-mouth each other’s team and we steer clear of any post-match analysis that could end in tears.
The pair, both journalists, live in Plymouth, DevonCredit: Roy Riley
“But Jon got Portugal in the family sweepstake, so he won’t lose out all together if Portugal retain the cup.”
He says: “I have suffered for my England shirt over the years, having supported England since the World Cup in Spain in ’82 — every Hand of God, every missed penalty and every time we’ve missed out on raising the trophy.
“Clare has already got a Euros title to gloat about which is fine — until we’re both sat on the sofa at the same time.”
FOOTBALL-mad admin manager Debbie Adams, 44, is making plasterer partner Craig Munnerley, 43, do all the household chores while she watches the current Euros tournament.
She will scrap housework and put the football before her relationship with Craig.
Debbie Adams, 44, is making plasterer partner Craig Munnerley, 43, do all the household chores while she watches the current Euros tournamentCredit: JOHN McLELLAN
She says: “The Euros are held once every four years and it is when I take over the sofa and turn into a bit of slob.
“During the England-Croatia match at the weekend, Craig was sorting the kids and vacuuming around the house while I watched the football.
“He moaned about how exhausted he felt but I told him to buckle up because he has a whole month of this ahead.”
Debbie has children from a previous relationship — Marley, 25, 23-year-old Abbie and Millie, 16 — and Millie lives with her and Craig in Harlow, Essex.
Debbie grew up supporting Arsenal and when she met Craig a year ago, she told him football would always come first.
PILE OF IRONING
She says: “I told him he would always take second place on match days and during big tournaments like the Euros.
“He thought I was kidding because I was the first football-obsessed woman he had dated.
“Although Craig likes football, he prefers watching motor-racing. But if I am not busy watching the games, I am checking out the commentary online.”
When Turkey went up against Italy on Friday, to kick off the latest Euros, Debbie downed tools.
She says: “I told Craig that the bathroom needed cleaning, and showed him the pile of ironing. He was not impressed.
Debbie will scrap housework and put the football before her relationship with CraigCredit: JOHN McLELLAN
“I plan to spend weekends on the sofa in my jogging bottoms and England shirt, while Craig has been left with a list of chores.”
Debbie has also given Craig point-ers on which cleaning products to use in each room of the house.
She says: “I even showed him the standard of washing, ironing and cleaning I expect, because I have high standards.
“I have told him if he tries to change the channel on the TV, or talks too loudly on the phone during the matches, he will be banned from the lounge.
“When Craig watches motor-racing I will pick up the slack, so now it’s his turn.
‘WEEKENDS ON THE SOFA’
“More women should call time on the housework this month and I am lucky that Craig is happy to play his part.
“As long as he keeps the drinks and snacks coming, and doesn’t plan a date night when the footie is on, I am happy.
“The rest of the time we share the cooking and cleaning 50-50. Craig does the vacuuming and empties the dishwasher and we split the rest of the household chores.”
But Craig says: “I was totally shocked when Deb told me I had to do everything round the house while she watches the matches, but football is her passion.
“I am out to prove I can be a better cleaner than she is.”