Cod Almighty | Diary
So proud to be GTFC
18 May 2015
Miss Guest Diary writes: Last Friday Retro Diary, in what some have described as the best Cod Almighty diary ever, told us to hang on and he'd see us on the other side. Well, we're there now and it's not where any of us wanted to be. He also urged us to be gracious in either victory or defeat. Those words echo, maybe consciously or unconsciously, lines from 'If' by Rudyard Kiping – once voted the nation's favourite poem – that in meeting with triumph or disaster we should "treat those two imposters just the same".
Yesterday's game certainly wasn't a triumph, but it wasn't a disaster either. Town matched Bristol Rovers over the course of 120 minutes of football – and had chances to win the game. All that separated the teams at the end, sending Rovers back into the Football League and confining Town to another year of Conference football, was a missed penalty.
And no-one should lay any blame at Town's door for that: far more illustrious players than Jon-Paul Pittman on far more illustrious occasions than a Conference play-off final have missed penalties. Yes, I am thinking of Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle in the 1990 World Cup and Frank Lampard and man-of-the-moment Steven Gerrard in the 2006 World Cup.
Actually, in some ways yesterday did feel like a triumph – it felt like the day we truly got our pride back as Town supporters. It's been building for the last six months, starting off the field with the crazy Lenny and Lloyd love affair in the John Lewis Christmas advert spoof which went viral; the success of the sticker book; the Orphan Boy song written specially for us.
On the field the momentum started with the 1,000 inflatable-waving fans who packed into the tin shed at Barnet, followed by the frankly bonkers scenes of wigs at Woking. Who will ever forget the sight of Craig Disley as a bleached-blonde bombshell? There was the Alfreton game where we outnumbered the home fans. And finally the second play-off semi against Eastleigh, where a crowd of over 6,000 produced the best atmosphere at Blundell Park for many a year.
And so to Wembley, where Town fans were outnumbered more than two to one by the Bristol Rovers fans, but if you closed your eyes you would never have known that. It was a tale of two types of support. For the most part the Rovers fans sat and watched their team, cheering when something went right for them and, when they remembered, bursting forth with a bit of a song. Whereas the rump of the Town fans were on their feet for two hours: singing and clapping and cheering and waving flags. Kicking every ball, making every tackle, and feeling every ounce of the players' pain when the result didn't go our way.
Then there has been the post-match reaction on Twitter – quite often a place of insult and bitter recrimination – and we have done ourselves proud there too. There have been many messages of heartbreak and disappointment but coupled with them have been thanks to the club and the players for their efforts and expressions of hope and optimism for next season. As requested by Retro Diary: a truly gracious reaction to defeat.
I was one of the people who nearly gave up on Town three years ago. I refused to renew my season ticket but, luckily for me, my partner bought it for me anyway and persuaded me to keep going. Thank goodness. We've got our club back now and supporting Town has become a lot more than just a duty to be fulfilled. Do you want to go to Boreham Wood?