Not in my league

You’d think one has to be a real connoisseur of football to support a non-league team. And I don’t mean namby-pamby Conference professional teams but real lower league semi-pro football, the kind where it still is possible for one of the supporters to stand in as linesman if the referee’s injured or where catering means a single burger van with the obligatory misplaced apostrophe (“In a class of it’s own”).

You have to have an acute awareness of irony to truly enjoy standing in the terraces of the kop end on a bitterly cold and floodlit Saturday afternoon and listening to the theme tune of Hawaii Five-O as the teams are trudging out onto the slightly boggy pitch.

And indeed, Most people you meet there are very knowledgeable or at least self-deprecating, like the bloke who shouted “Wem-ber-leeeey!” after a victorious FA Cup qualifying round game.

That’s why I was suprised the other day to hear someone yelling incessantly at one of our players. “Wiiiiiiiide, wiiiiiiiide!”, he kept screaming at the poor guy, until his mate turned to him and said “For fuck’s sake, at least let him take that bloody throw-in first.”


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