Why it’s important to support your local team

by Martin

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

I believe that supporting your local football team is hugely important, and have nothing but respect for those people who week in week out traipse to the shack they call a grandstand and watch a non-glamorous club. These, in truth, are the country’s true football fans, the ones who don’t expect trophies, just to enjoy the game in its purest form. Because I hold this belief people often think that I am from Leicester because I support the mighty Foxes. I am not.

In the early 70’s I grew up in the shipbuilding town of Barrow In Furness. Recently exited from the league, I did loyally traipse to the aforementioned shack, in this case Holker Street, and watch the great Colin Cowperthwaite and co lose week in week out, but even then a child needed to support a league club as well. So I turned to my football card collection.

All the kids at my school followed a red team, Man U or Liverpool (nothing changes), as they were the closest cities with First Division sides (the blue options had little appeal to the glory hunter even then). Everton got a boost a few years on when a kid from the next street and a couple of years above me became their (and England) right back, but it was always really the reds.

So in the spirit of being different, I had a blue Subbuteo team. The decision on who to support therefore fell to the blue options – as I recall Everton, Ipswich, Birmingham City and the Foxes. I agonised over what would be a life changing decision for hours, but kept returning to one football card. The flowing hair, the cad like moustache, the cheeky grin – lets face it, I support Leicester City because of Frank Worthington, arguably the greatest player to pull on the blue shirt and definitely the greatest character the game has ever seen. I wanted to be Wortho and have the ladies falling at my feet.

Once the decision was made, I moved heaven and earth to watch the man as much as possible, and pestered my parents to take me whenever the Foxes made a trip north. And that decision dictated my life from then on. I went to Loughborough University because I failed to get in to Leicester, and the first season ticket was purchased soon after.

Now living in Kent and having young kids it is hard to get to many Leicester games, but in a strange twist of fate I will be taking my daughter to her first football match in November. My local team is Ebbsfleet now, and who should they find themselves in the same division as this season? That’s right, Barrow. She will see the blue of the Furness peninsula side first, just as I did, though hopefully she will want to continue the trips to Northfleet rather than to the north.

Ebbsfleet United FC

The future of the game lies in people who follow their local sides. When the cash bubble bursts and the giants operating on their borrowed billions collapse, its these clubs and people who will keep the game alive. I don’t care who the kids end up supporting, but will do all I can to ensure it’s a local side – Charlton perhaps, or Ebbsfleet if their rise continues. Just as long as I never see them joining the glory hunting masses in the shirt of one of the Big 4, that really would break my heart….

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  • Martyn

    Martin, I do understand and to a degree, I agree with your article. However, my great grandad lived inbetween Woolwich’s relocated ground and White Hart Lane. He wisely chose Spurs. My grandad stayed in the area and continued that support, taking my dad to games. Despite my dad moving to another area, he carried on his support for Spurs. Having season tickets and taken me to many games, I too followed that tradition and took over the season ticket when I was 18. I fully intend for my daughter to come with me to Spurs games when she is old enough and I have already signed her up as a ‘Hotspur Dribbler’. She’s only 10 months but already sits in fornt of the telly when Spurs are on (honestly she does!).
    Anyway my point being there is something to be said for passing your allegiance to a team down to your offspring, no matter where you live. Its more important to me than what religion she is (of course she’ll be a Jedi like her father though!)
    All that said, the very first football match I went to, was a Brentford game with my uncle when I was very young. Now living in Chiswick, my local team is … you guessed it – Brentford. I have always looked out for their results and I suppose you could say they are my second team. I do actually go and see them, as I have a few friends who are Brentford fans, 3 or 4 times a year.
    Tradition vs locality – its a very difficult one but I would always go with tradition.

  • James Webb

    I too followed my dads footsteps in supporting Spurs. My local team as a boy was Crystal Palace and although I ended up working at Selhurst Park for a while in my mid teens and have a very small place in my heart for them I was always gonna be a spurs fan. I live in Rochester now and I am probably the same distance from Ebbsfleet and the Gills. There is absolutely no way that my 7 month old son will be supporting either of those lol! Yes it may be convenient for me to take him to his local club but I would rather trounce across London than him following either of those no hopers.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Crystal Palace are also my local team, as much as I tried to follow them it just didn’t feel right.

    I’ve been an Arsenal fan from the age of 6, my mate at the time asked who I supported and I replied I don’t know, if he would said Spurs I would of said me 2, but luckily enough he didn’t. I was basically a football sheep, but thank god he didn’t say Man U, Chelsea or the Spuds!

  • dexylongshot

    So, two Eagles who didn’t fancy that walk up the hill to Selhurst POark every park every week, especially when a few more fashionable teams became a better option. Seen your sort before.

    It’s get right on my wick when i see old school mates on the wonderfull facebook (yep I’m on there) who say ..

    “yeah mate, still follow the footy, my baby boys got the new Gooner/Pool/Manc/Chelsea top just like me”

    eer hold on son, didn’t you used to wear Millwall/Charlton/Palace/West Ham at school (circa 83)

    What’s all that about. I’m very proud to say The club I support was the one i was born within shouting distance from(on a quiet day). I lived on a road that got highly congested between 2-5 pm every other Saturday half a mile from the ground and have supported said team for as long as i can remember, through thick and thin (mostly thin).

    I reckon i’ve been to around 350 games in my lifetime (would have been more if I didn’t have a saturday job for 6 years and was Uni for a couple) at this ground and around 50 away games. That is support, that’s what it’s all about. I feel so strongly on this that they’ll be another blog on it next week, a club is for life, not just for when your teams doing alright!!

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    My Dad being my Dad he wouldn’t have had anything else but for me to be a Northampton fan, wherever we lived/grew up. It turned out he stayed in Northampton and I’ve been a Cobbler from the youngest age possible. I fell in love with the lower leagues and have no idea if I could cope with being in the Premier League, as great as it would be!

    I’ve been in Southampton for uni and afterwards for five years now and don’t stop travelling the length and bredth of the country to such glamorous places as Rochdale, Carlisle and Darlington…I wouldn’t swap it for the world!

  • Dan Church

    Im a Man Utd fan myself, but before anyone cries “glory hunter” ive been a fan since i was 7, 25 years now, back in 1983 before i even knew the football league existed, i, by chance, came across a page on ceefax with the scores one Saturday afternoon and saw this team had won 6-0 or something, of course not knowing the games were every saturday, i kept checking the same page every single day to see if they could win by the same scoreline until the following Saturday, some new scores came up and i think they had lost, and thus, my love of the reds has grown. Although i was a fan back then, i dont remember the victory over Brighton in the ’84 cup final, my earliest memory was of Norman Whiteside smashing in that late goal to beat Everton, but then that was all we won until 1990 when we beat Palace in the final.

    My local big team is Charlton and i keep an eye out for their scores, as i do for Dartford, Welling and Ebbsfleet, but the affection and love is nowhere near what it is for the United. I still shed a tear every time i see Ole’s goal against Bayern Munich……

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10263344794 Ian

    Forest Fan from Nottingham. Always have been, always will be. I’d rather someone supported our biggest local rivals and be from that City than (like a friend of mine) support Liverpool and come from Gloucester!!??!? Fed up of having recent success thrown in my face by people that have never even visited the ground of the team (business) that they ‘support’. I have started a group on facebook called ‘support your local football team’. have a look if your interested.

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    I do feel sorry for United fans who are genuine and the support they get away from home is fantastic…you know the guys who get away tickets are people who have been there for years and it’s not fair for them to be branded “glory hunters”.

    Incredibly, when Northampton played United in Round Four of the F.A. Cup a few years back, some locals thought up the “cunning” plan of buying half season tickets for the rest of the Cobblers’ League Two campaign…this guaranteed them a seat for the United game and they went on to throw the rest of the season ticket away! Thus depriving so many Town fans of seeing us play Manchester United for the first time since Best hit us for six.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    what makes me laugh is when ever SKY Sports interview United fans they always have a cockney or Irish accent, funny that!

    Who have the Gobblers got tomorrow? I take it u go to away games aswell?

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    I do indeed…we have a fake “local derby” against the plastic population from Milton Keynes over at their place…they’ll never be our rivals as hard as they try but I’d still love it…love it…if we beat them!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    nice one, they should be really be my local team (Wimbeldon). You could say they are most souless team in England!

    Well good luck, I’m doing a 30 girl photoshoot for our new comps tomorrow, so I’m missing the Arsenal game, still, some things are worth missing for an opportunity like this one!

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    I’m wondering which one of us will see more plastic tits tomorrow….

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I’ll have a guess and say I’ll see 5 out of 30, so thats a 6th, what’s your ratio?

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    I saw around 9,000 in the home end…absolute awful, the whole operation at MK is a sell out. I was willing to give it a chance but the place has absolutely no soul at all. I’m not bitter about our defeat, we deserved to lose, but MK Dons are a crime to football.

  • Martin Tibbetts

    No problem at all with people who have supported a team all their lives, but I do hate it when kids support the big 4 from birth now. I spent today in Tonbridge, lovely day out. I saw about 8 kids in Chelsea shirts, 2 in Liverpool and 2 in Arsenal. Not another shirt to be seen, no Palace, Gills, Millwall, Hammers or Charlton to be seen.

    Now I know that Chelsea fans are prone to wearing their colours more than any other, and also for supporting environmentally unfriendly CFC tattoos on any visible part of their body, so they do stand out from the crowd, but it does seem to me that of late everyone in Kent is a Chelsea fan. Which is ridiculous when there are several London clubs nearer to the county than the odious Stamford set. Can someone tell me if this has always been the case, or if the population of blue shirts and tattoos sprung up around the time the rubles arrived – I suspect the latter…..

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    to be fair Chelsea have always had great support, they are well known for taking the most fans to away games, even before the Abramavich revolution this has always been the case

    ps only one plastic Danny!

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