Cod Almighty | Article
by Richard Lord
13 April 2011
I can't stop obsessing over my poor record of watching Town. I'm not a superstitious person (unlike my late grandfather, who used to pronounce it "stooper-stitious" and tell me why Grimsby keepers don't wear green while stepping in dog shit on Harrington Street). Nor am I the type who thinks someone or something is out to get me. But I just can't ignore the fact that, for several seasons now, I miss such crazy matches as the 7-2 demolition of Mansfield and instead witness the horrific home defeats such as those to Fleetwood and Hayes. I know it's just bad luck; there's certainly no judgment on my part because I'm not that clever to pick out the winnable games. I go when I can, and there's no more to it than that.
So why do I tend to miss the good games? It doesn't help that we all know someone (usually a half-hearted fan who doesn't even like football that much) who has the audacity to turn up for three games a season and see Town win three times. I find myself at the opposite end of the scale and I'm feeling a bit moody about it.
I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way, so I won't make myself sound too pathetic and wanting of sympathy because we're all feeling a bit low about supporting Town these days. However, my record of watching Town is truly shocking. Many moons ago I became that person who fans told to stay away because I was bad luck. But I keep coming back for three reasons: loyalty, stupidity and a misplaced belief that my record will somehow 'even itself out', like managers say when their team is on the end of bad refereeing decisions. It has to, though, surely?
What's more, I have a record as proof. For as long as I can remember, I have always collected those fixture list cards that come out in the summer - you know, the ones that fold over four times and are plastered with adverts and phone numbers and sometimes include the reserve team's fixtures. Typically, the first few results are filled in before the user gets bored with it.
I made a habit from my very early days of attending Blundell Park to mark the games I attended on these fixture lists, and a few years ago (given that I'm prone to losing things) I collected them all and transferred my record on to a spreadsheet, which is saved safely in a very important file on my computer. I realise now that it was an outrageously geeky thing to do, but I'm so far down the line I can't stop. As a result, I have a full and accurate record of every Town game I've been to - league, play-off and cup competitions. Despite the obvious ridicule I get, people are fascinated by it.
"Recording Town's results means I can reel off such beauties as 'Do you know, I haven't seen us score more than one goal in a match for nine matches'"
The record is a useful tool to sound really interesting when at the match with your mates (depending on their sense of humour and tolerance for random statistics being blurted out by an irrepressible football nerd). I can reel off such beauties as, 'Do you know, I haven't seen us score more than one goal in a match for nine matches', or, 'That was my first away win in 16 matches and nearly three years!'
My first home game this season was the defeat to Hayes & Yeading. I didn't even see us score an away goal until the other week, when we lost at Bath City. I've seen draws against Eastbourne, Barrow, Cambridge and Tamworth at Blundell Park, and then I'm blessed with seeing our first home league defeat in over six months against Darlington when a couple of my friends (who are regular attendees) couldn't make it. Even Liam Hatch scoring the winner had extra significance since he can't score for toffee on my epic Football Manager game (in which I signed him for Forfar Athletic). He's getting sold to East bloody Stirling - I told him so from the upper tier of the multiple sponsored stand. I don't think he heard me. I don't think he would've cared even if he had.
So I'm feeling a bit disillusioned about following Town at the moment. We haven't got the results we wanted, Neil Woods was sacked for not having us nearer the play-offs, and now we're not even playing well. It's OK fans and the radio telling me we've played well here and there but I've rarely seen it for myself. Last Tuesday's home defeat to Darlington was desperately poor on so many levels. No crowd, no atmosphere, very few chances and a sneaky feeling that it'll be like this for a period of time to come. Why did I have to be exposed to that?
Having missed out on the trip to Histon, and the very decent home games against Luton, Wrexham and Newport, I'm left wondering whether I should still bother. And as much as I would like to save money, and guard myself from enduring any more pain and frustration at watching my beloved club look even more wretched than the year before, I'll return because I know that the time I choose to ignore my club will be the time they start sticking four or five past the opposition and surge back up the league(s). I live in hope, anyway.
While the Mariners were sticking three past Kidderminster in a game that was described as 'mildly entertaining', I was at the Genix Healthcare Stadium to watch Garforth Town lose 1-0 to Clitheroe, from the touchline on a boiling hot day, enveloped in a dark cloud made up of bad luck particles. I really should stay clear from all GTFCs. Gainsborough - ban me now from ever visiting.
Those of you expecting us to beat Bath City this weekend - be warned. I've got a big empty page in my diary on Saturday. But I'm loyal, I'm stupid, and my record will even itself out...
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