Decked out in their colours, lifelong lovers Donovan ‘Merry Man’ Whyte and Marie Marsh traveled to the Allure Blue Lounge in Waterhouse, St Andrew’s on Sunday to watch their teams Argentina and France respectively battle it out for the title coveted World Cup.
As the two football heavyweights traded punches in a jaw-dropping finale, the Portmore-based couple St Catherine, who married around 25 years ago, recalled the “first touch” that had brought them together in Whyte’s makeshift hair salon in Waterhouse.
“I get scared when I hear this pretty sexy girl talking about football. I’m like, ‘Does she have time to watch football? She must have a boyfriend to play ball’,” remembers Whyte.
Although she only went to have her eyebrows shaved, Marsh, co-owner of Salon Emporia and Beauty Supplies, in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, admitted to being intrigued by the heated discussion Whyte was having with her friends, ironically about his beloved Argentina and the World Cup.
“So I talked about how Maradona was in the 1986 World Cup, and Marie just stared intently as we talked; and when she mentions ’bout Cruyff, I’m shooting’ around the same time . Marie a young girl dem time deh, probably inna ’bout fifth form.
The feeling of deja vu engulfed the lovers on Sunday despite their opposing choices. Between heartwarming hugs as her France side lost 2-0 behind the South American giants before half-time, Marsh, 48, was gushing all over Whyte, who she considers her “best friend”.
“I love him and football,” said the well-known hairdresser.
She said the World Cup, and football in general, has always been a highlight of their relationship.
“That’s how we really started to click. His passion for football was almost the same when he ‘looked at’ me (laughs). Right now I think they’re equal, but I can’t complain,” Marsh added.
The two, who share a son and two grandchildren, said they both thoroughly enjoyed the match, in which Argentina emerged 4-2 winners on penalties after a biting 3-3 draw during regular time and overtime.
“Such a great final, I tell you. Although my team lost, I’m still happy because they gave their best,” Marsh said with a smile.
Argentina’s victory means their family duel is now locked down to one each, following France’s triumph at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Whyte said he hoped his side would repeat their feat in 2026 when the World Cup returns as it would strengthen his case to convince his wife to make a switch.
“I’ve been trying to get his fi switch and come on the Argentinian wagon for years. I’m tired of telling him that the wagon transfer form is still safely in place in the draw at home, and she’s also invited to fill it,” Whyte joked.
With a straight face, Marsh, who said his support for France started at the 2006 World Cup after seeing Zinedine Zidane play in Germany, quickly dismissed the idea.
“Never in my years here on Earth did I bring Argentina. Listen, you see de mi see Zidane inna 2006, such a mi deh thing, with France. And now the worst, the player dem young and can play, like Mbappe, how mi fi bring another side?” remarks Marsh.