I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was writing about football. A true supporter, like myself, has to suffer. That’s why I have followed Gillingham since I was 14 years old and for the last 20 years been a keen fan of Warrington Town. A real supporter takes the rough with the smooth, follows his club through good times and bad times – in my case it seems to be more ‘bad times’ than ‘good times’. But ever the optimist I know that the golden days for both of my teams are just around the corner! Hopefully that optimism will still be there on that cold and wet Tuesday evening in November as I walk away from the ground having just watched Warrington lose – it usually is. No doubt either I or one of my friends will mutter, as we leave the ground, “That’s it! I’m never coming to watch that shower again!” Only to be faithfully there at the next match, as optimistic as ever. I often think that the so called fans of Manchester United, City, Chelsea etc. should come along and watch some real football.
This week I have watched two matches (My wife always says that any man who watches two football matches in one week should be declared insane.) The first match was a pre-season friendly at Warrington Town on Tuesday night. We were playing a team from a higher league and we drew 3-3, a good result. The only problem is that it raises all sorts of false expectations for the coming season. However it was a good night – a crowd of about 100, it cost me £5 to get in and I saw some good goals and lots of passion and commitment.
On Wednesday night I watched another friendly. This one was on the TV and was England’s first game since their disastrous World Cup antics. There were 72,000 watching and they had paid between £20 – £40 for a ticket. At times the play and lack of passion and commitment from some players was poor to say the least. Not least of all from the manager – his response to both of England’s goals was as if nothing had happened. He didn’t move or jump up with excitement – he just sat there, how can you do that? I always get excited when my team scores.
At Warrington if the fans are not happy the team and manager know about it. We are only a matter of feet from the pitch and the dug out – any comments made are not easy to ignore. Whereas the set up at Wembley seems to distance the team and manager from any of the fans feelings.
So this season I will be going along to Warrington to watch them play unknown teams (at least probably unknown to you) such as Leigh Genesis, Witton Albion, Radcliffe Borough …. and I know that I will see some great football and not so great. The one thing for sure is that all of the players out there will be there because they enjoy playing football – they wont be there for the money!