HOME THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD
Well, not exactly abroad, more over
the border. That’s Scotland not Wales. I thought I’d
let you know about what it’s like supporting your favourite
team from 300 miles away.
The obvious problem of course is
not being able to get my fortnightly fix of going to
the Deva to see the boys in blue. I’d sort of got used
to that after living in London for 15 years before
moving to Scotland but at least then you could see
plenty of games in the south and have the comradeship
of other members of Chester City Exiles, travelling
to games together etc.
Also in London there are plenty of
other people from elsewhere in the country supporting
equally insignificant teams, so you don’t feel like
your a complete freak. Up here you feel altogether
more isolated. If there were to be a Chester City Supporters
Club (Scotland Branch), I think I would have to be
the chairman, secretary and treasurer. If there were
to be a club outing to a game we could travel on a
So what can you do? Well there’s
an annual trip to Carlisle, a mere 160 miles away,
or Hartlepool, something similar only without a motorway
in sight. Otherwise I have to spend every Saturday
in front of teletext.
Actually, since my kind wife graciously
allowed me to get Sky (just in time for the Brighton
game last year), I now sit glued in front of something
called ’Gillette Soccer Saturday’. For anyone that
has never seen it, there is effectively a continual
vidi-printer at the bottom of the screen, which flashes
up each goal scored around the country (with the scorer)
as it happens whilst the presenter, a bloke called
Jeff Stelling (a Hartlepool fan), gives you various
bits of statistical information to go with it that
would make John Motson look like some football ignoramous.
I’m continually amazed by the knowledge he has to hand.
No sooner has a Chester goal flashed up on screen (not
very often this year admittedly) than he would come
up with ‘that’s Agogo’s fifth goal in the last six
games for the side that’s propping up the league and
of course cash strapped Chester have not won at Sincil
Bank in their last eleven visits’. Notice the term ’cash
strapped’. This term seems to prefix any mention by
Stelling of Chester City. I almost expect the final
results to be read out as ’Northamton Town 4 v. Cash
Strapped Chester 1’ .
Mostly, watching this programme is
extremely depressing, especially this season when I
seem to be waiting for the inevitable opposition scorers
to flash on screen. The problem is that there is no
build up to a goal, no expectation when say Beckett
is one on one with the keeper that leads you up to
the highs of a goal being scored, or the despair of
a goal conceded. Just a bland statement on the bottom
of the screen that can lead to what must be dangerously
violent mood swings. e.g Brighton 2 v Chester City
2 (Cullip 82 mins) ’ Arrgh. Useless bastards’ to Brighton
2 v Chester City 3 (Agogo 90 mins), ’Yeeeesssss. Come
on you blue boys’. Despair to ecstasy in eight minutes.
Of course living in Scotland, there’s
no one to share your despair or ecstasy with. Naturally
the wife makes comforting noises when we lose ’Never
mind maybe they’ll win next week’ but deep down you
know she’s thinking ’Bloody Hell, it’s only Chester.
What does it matter if they’ve just got whoopped 4
- 0. You’d think he’d be used to it by now.’ She supports
St Johnstone. Why don’t I, a lot of people might ask.
In many ways there are similarities.They play in a
town (Perth) similar in size to Chester, get crowds
of 3-4,000 (when Rangers or Celtic aren’t in town that
is) and have even enjoyed European football this year.
I’ve even gone along a couple of times to watch them,
on one of those occasions they stuffed Dundee 7-2.
But at the end of the day they are not Chester and
you can’t just transfer your loyalties like that at
the drop of a hat. Anyway, the wife supports them so
obviously I can’t otherwise I’d have nothing to wind
her up about.
On the subject of Dundee, I understand
from my next door neighbour (a Dundee fan) that Dave
Rogers (remember him, Scouser who played midfield for
us a couple of years ago) has left them to join Ayr
Utd. he was quite liked by Dundee fans apparently but
was always out injured.
I suppose that being 300 miles away
does have its benefits though (other than being 310
miles away from Wrexham). I managed to get down to
the Deva to see the Macclesfield game the other day.
I think I would rather have watched that one on Teletext
Spare a thought for me when England
play Scotland. I think I’ll keep my head down that