“Football is the ballet of the masses.” Dmitri Shostakovich.
Odd as it may seem, our deadly rivals St. Evenage have a lot in common with us. We depend on the continued existence of real, and fair, competition and the endless opportunities to win things. Equally, both clubs are motivated by the constant jeopardy of a disastrous relegation which is the other side of the same coin. Like us, they respect their roots and their community. They treat their fans with respect, unlike noisy neighbours Spurs. The Big Six are united only in their willingness to treat their fans and the traditions they cherish with utter contempt.
I wont attempt to explain what football means to genuine fans. Sir Bobby Robson has already done that better than anyone else ever could. Rivals we may be but the grubby super league proposal is a timely reminder of everything that “ordinary” football clubs have in common. Whenever inadequate and egocentric owners wreak havoc on clubs like Bury, Darlington, Blackpool, Coventry and all the others, we feel a sense of solidarity with all those other fans who have been deprived, however temporarily, of their right to dream. The Big Six don’t care if clubs like ours go to the wall as long as their own wallets grow fatter.
Last night(Tuesday) a group of Cambridge fans rented a flat at Orient’s ground so that they could cheer on the U’s to victory. Mark Bonner, classy as always, went over to them at the end of the game to thank them for their passionate and boisterous support. He knows, as we all do, that our chosen clubs are a vital part of our lives, successful or not. This season has been wonderful for Cambridge fans , whatever happens during our last three games. During the awful year or so of the pandemic, our team’s performances have been a ray of sunlight in almost unrelieved gloom. Any club owner who is happy to take that joy away from anyone doesn’t deserve to be the custodian of a football club at any level. I would love to see the authorities strip them of that right.
Some years ago, after an away game at Stevenage, I was standing in the Gents next to a Stevenage fan. He asked me what I thought about the game. I had been in the Supporters’ Club for some time and may have taken a glass, if not too. I launched into a diatribe about how that cheat Adam Miller has dived to get a penalty. Of course the Stevenage fan turned out to be Adam’s father. He laughed and we agreed that it had been a good game really. Later Adam Miller saw sense and came to play for us. I hope we win on Saturday. I think that 3 points would take us up but, in our league, all results are possible. Time to reclaim the peoples’ game and to make it fairer for us all.