Supporting A Football Team


I am a man of stolid loyalties, which mark my life from everything to do with  morning routine through to lunchtime sandwich fillings and sports interests. Since the dawn of my maturity, I have supported the same football team, and in the last twenty years that has been an easy thing to do. Now, teams who previously came to our home ground for their annual humiliation, or had to pretend to be “good sports” when we won the championship again, are beating us using the postman and a guy who popped in to service the radiators because their actual strikers prefer going to the gym where they are more likely to get a real work-out.

I am a man who delights in being modest, and welcomes that in other people. That is not a modest thing to say, as we know,  and now I have got my comeuppance . The old, glory-rich manager retired at the end of the last season, after putting another championship cup in the broom cupboard as his display shelves had run out of space. He personally selected his replacement, and then sat back in the stands, I initially presumed, to marvel at the triumphs of his successor.

As news of his appointment spread, the papers were full of talk about “A safe pair of hands” or “Look what he achieved with no budget, put a hundred million in the petrol tank and watch that guy fly into the stratosphere.” Now, seven months later, we are regarded as an easy ‘three pointer’ by any team which plays us, and the humiliation is complete by my reckoning although others, no doubt, hope it has a long way to go.

I am a man who has, in lots of ways, experienced the effects of changing fortune and circumstance so, apart from writhing with embarrassment when the team which allowed me to achieve my advance-level pass in gloatmanship now leaves opponents grounds in a plain van, I feel considerable sympathy for the manager, so recently feted, who’s suffering from insults has only been limited by the finite vocabulary of his detractors.  I have some experience of this, and its not as much fun as people think.

In clouds above our heads deceased supporters are clubbing together to rent a thunderbolt with which they mean to extricate the poor guy from his current post and remove him to a place were the fires are self- renewing. In the land of the living’ pints are drunk and supporters quietly share their pain, and shake their head over some new disaster.  When I was eight I received a school report which disturbed my mother. It read, “Time is running out for Wells: must learn to take life seriously”  Clearly the man had an eye for character. If we meet in cloud-land on some future day, I shall ask him what his school report is for our current manager, poor guy, and listen to him sharpening his pitiless quill.

Veterans of my Blog may notice that some of my sentences are over-long. I apologise but must confess that these sports-day humiliations are dismantling me rivet by rivet, and it’s starting to show in the sentence structure. “We’ll support you ever morwer. Keep your head down and get out the doorwer” etc

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, community, creative writing, faith, Fiction, humour, Life, Talent, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Supporting A Football Team

  1. MishaBurnett says:

    I am in the opposite position–for two decades I have been a fan of the St. Louis Blues Hockey Team, which was famous for being the worst team in the history of the sport. Now, quite suddenly and for no rational reason we are at the top of the league and no one quite knows how to handle it.

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  2. Cay says:

    In the mid-80s I was watching Canada Cup on TV, perched on the arm rest of my dad’s TV chair. Since I’m Norwegian, it was in the middle of the night, but it was during the summer holiday and “it was hockey, for God’s sake” (Dad’s argument to Mum who wanted me in bed by nine), so I was allowed to stay up. I would sit there, with a cuddle blanket and all and the magic of ice hockey just…got to me. Swallowed me completely.
    During that tournament I learned that there was a hockey league on the other side of the Atlantic that was called the NHL. And in that league, there was a team called Detroit Red Wings. They became My Team and they sucked big time. They were called the Dead Things and it was shocking when they actually won a game.
    Now, 30 years later, I’ve been through my fair share of ups and downs. The natural waves, I suppose, that rock a fan’s life. It’s heart-breaking when things fall apart and it’s amazing when things go well.
    I suppose we need both: We need to experience the dark valleys to really appreciate the view from the top.

    Hang in there. Your team will reward you again.

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    • I love the tale about watching sport with your dad. I have three daughters and, when they were young, they would ask me which team we were supporting , and I would point at the TV and say, “The one’s running towards the fire place” on such insights is future sporting interest based

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  3. catterel says:

    I am not a football fan, but anyone born in West Bromwich learns from an early age to recognise a blue-amd-white striped shirt as a signal to howl “C’mon the Baggies!” simply as a means of self-preservation among the mob. Though I don’t know which team you support, you have all my sympathy!

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  4. Al says:

    It appears that I was destined as a newborn to follow and root only for teams that were down on their luck and certain to crush the spirits of any who would call themselves fans. I have accepted this lot in life, but I am sure it has contributed to my insecurities and tendency to be self-effacing.
    Ever the optimist though, I hope to hope to one day attend a contest without a paper bag over my head.

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  5. lexborgia says:

    Good times are definitely ahead, because it’s impossible for our team to sink any lower (I hope), and if they don’t materialise next season, then, off with his head. Glory glory…….

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  6. gotham girl says:

    If we meet in cloud-land…love that! You are amazing.

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  7. mikesteeden says:

    Fine muse on your team. Personally and notwithstanding last seasons runaway in the league the cracks were already showing. From the outside looking in I think your former manager is not without some criticism. Still next season, and as an act of retaliation, when Putin’s mate Abramovich pulls is dosh out of Chelsea the playing field will be leveled somewhat. Best of luck Sir – can’t believe as an Arsenal fan I just wrote that!

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    • It’s sad that my team is so clearly identifiable from my lament, but I cannot deny them in their hour of need. I agree about the cracks. I saw an interview with Wilf McGuiness who took over from Mat Busby. He (Wilf ) was a lovely guy, but such an appointment surely does involve gulping from the poisoned chalice. Thanks for the comment

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      • mikesteeden says:

        I think the very presence in your current side of the money grabbing …….who caused us to be a ‘one man band’ helps little! Build around Rooney – now back on board – ditch money boy ego man and thereafter spend well and normal service will be resumed. You’ll never have a ‘team’ playing for each other whilst you have him I hate to say. Do like all this football stuff though – very addictive!

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  8. jmmcdowell says:

    Well, I grew up a fan of a baseball team that hasn’t won the World Series since 1908, so I know a bit about backing a losing team. I’m willing to bet your team will be back on top before the Cubs win another championship!

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  9. Forwarding to Mr. Liverpool.

    XXXXXX Kiss from MN.

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  10. Dave Robinson says:

    Sorry Peter but I’m enjoying every minute of the Moyes project, long may he rein. I won’t even bring up Sundays result, let’s wait until the next London meeting when the tables have truly turned.

    Mr Liverpool

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    • I totally understand that Dave. My feeling really, is more for the manager than the situation because he must be having a grim time of it. I watched an interview with a guy called Wilf McGuiness, who took over from Mat Busby when he retired, and he had a pretty similar experience to that now being suffered by Moyes. I remember some guy who supported Lincoln City saying, “The best part of the game is the snacks eaten at half- time, and I understand that more with each match. European Cup draw today. What level of humiliation are we exposing ourselves to this time?

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  11. When, just a few months ago (although now it seems a distant memory), we travelled Northwards to your home territory the usual was expected – a decent performance on our part, resulting in a resounding defeat. So when, 90ish minutes later, and with a 2-1 victory to our name, after a somewhat ropey start to the season, the M6 had become the Yellow Brick Road.
    Ah, yes, a distant memory. Our steady slide towards the foot of the table, and your erratic home form has brought our (historic) result to a new level of insignificance. Still, I have heard people say that over the last couple oy years we have ‘over-achieved’. Hmm. I was under the impression that football was about winning.
    I do recall you once saying that you worked down this way some time back. You will, I’m sure, still be familiar with the Midlands mentality towards sport – don’t expect to win, and you won’t be disappointed.
    To return to your point, though; there will always be the knockers and the critics – I did wonder if your new boss was appointed to ‘fail’ as a kind of perverse way of saying ‘told you it was all down to me’. Mind you I did also wonder whether our chairman had had a cheeky 100,000 on us to be relegated as the odds against were good. My advice – focus on the worst (3-0 home defeat to Rotherham (no disrespec)), after that things can only get better.
    Thanks for a great post!

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  12. And the moral of that story is: sod sport. And sod teachers who refer to eight-year-olds by their last name 🙂

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  13. Life is cyclical – United have been on a bloody long bike ride!

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  14. Well, I just love your writing; havent a clue about football apart from my husband supporting his favourite team with a passion for ever and a day. Oh, and my dad! Years ago when I was having a birthday party mum aranged it inadvetently on the day ofthe cup final. He actually got a clotheshorse out of the cupboard, made a three sided den for himself and covered the whole thing in blackout material!! Im not sure my friends ever came back 😊 (he was a good man! But where football was concerned…)

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  15. Peter,

    I hate to admit it but Fergi did a remarkable job winning the league with a very average team last year. Moyes has a huge rebuilding job ahead of him, as I’m sure United will spend their way out of trouble. My question is can you trust him with that kind of money? His two big money signings so far are questionable, Mata seems to want to play the same position as Rooney and the least said about Fellaini the better.

    Dave (Mr. L)

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    • He did, but Fergie’s very qualities, and the hold he had on the team made the problems of Moyes more difficult. While struggling with his new team and the egos if its superstars, he must sit and look at his old team sitting above him in the table. Thank goodness he’s on a decent wage and save up for a decent holiday

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  16. nelle says:

    Sports can be a hidden passion, at least in terms of sharing with the cyberworld. I sense some empathy afoot here, and that is a good thing. I’ve lived through the successes of teams in baseball, in basketball, in hockey, and in American football. I’ve rooted for my alma mater as it dismantled other teams in soccer (the first two years there in large part to two players from the UK quite different in style one to the other.

    There was the grace of Rooney, there was the bludgeoning of Jones. I sat along the field one day. Play stopped but Jones kept running full speed for another ten or so meters and levelled an inattentive opponent. The act went unseen and unpunished, causing quite a squabble. Jones reached down to his dazed opponent, muttering, “Sorry, I couldn’t stop.”

    Anyway, I’ve relished the successes, and suffered the downtimes as well. There are those who paid a price for the latter, and my heart went out to them.

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