Football fans have rituals - and game night is the most sacred of those. It's you, it's your mates, it's the game. No more, no less. And there's a few of those mates who always show up, no matter who you are...
1) The Gas Man
For some people, football chat is a sacred art - you dive into tactics, you stroke your chin thoughtfully, you give and take on your arguments and, most importantly, you speak at a volume that means people in the Outer Hebrides can't hear you. Unless you're actually in the Outer Hebrides.
Then, there's...the other type of person. The person who sees football as a medium through which to gas up their mates; nothing more, nothing less. Most of them have YouTube channels these days - or they're 90min FanVoicers. Troopz. Buvey. You know the types.
2) The Snoozer
Always more dangerous for weeknight Champions League games, but there's always that one mate who sleeps like it's going out of style. In a dull 0-0 on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke, you can get it - but this mug would've nodded off after Smicer scored in the 2005 Champions League final.
It's become pretty obvious over time that there's absolutely nothing you can do to change them, so now it's just a matter of seeing how many empty cans you can stack on their head before full time.
3) The Tweeter
It's not a match unless they've had their fingers glued to their phone for at least 75 minutes of it, trying desperately to get that one tweet to bang beyond their 258 followers.
Most often seen jerking their head up from their screen and going 'what?? what happened??' when everyone starts shouting at the TV, and their primary contribution to any conversation is just an absent-minded 'oh man, Weah's Cousin just nailed it' and then drifting back into the daydream land. Me. It's me.
4) The Scab
You know how it is, you've got the group text going for a couple of days leading up to the game - 'you bring the beer, you bring the crisps, you...well you've got the Sky Sports subscription, we'll let you off'.
Then there's them. You're fairly sure they've not got a good excuse, but you can never tell if someone's having quiet money troubles, so nobody really brings it up. But look, it's been four weeks since they brought anything along and it's starting to get beyond a joke isn't it?
5) The Neat Freak
The life and soul of the kitchen - and more often than not, the host. Buzzing round like a particularly nervous bee, jumbo kitchen roll in hand, swooping on any spillages before they've got a chance to stain the carpet. How they manage to do it and still keep one and a half eyes on the game is one of the eternal mysteries of life.
6) The Rugby Fan
Look, football isn't for everyone. Apparently. Everyone's got that one mate who isn't quite so keen - but if you're all getting together for the game, they're not just going to sit around at home on their own trying to catch a Scarlets game on S4C or something.
But you know exactly what that means. That means groans whenever a player goes down with anything less than a leg broken in 17 places. That means at least a 10-minute lecture on 'respect for the refs'. That means...ugh. But you've got to keep inviting them, right?
7) The Texter
Who are they texting? Is it their mum? Their dealer? Their...it's their partner, isn't it? Yes. It's always, always their partner - how they survived in the old T-Mobile '200 texts a month' contract days, you'll never understand.
They spend as much time glancing nervously at the clock as they do watching the game, shoot off immediately afterwards after absolutely no more than two beers. You're always kind of impressed by their restraint and how respectful they are of their partner, but...mate, cut loose once in a while!
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