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Local Football

Do you ever wonder sometimes why you bother? I mean, how easy would it be to forsake the local version of the beautiful game for the warm and cosy alternative offered courtesy of your satellite dish?

You’ve got your numerous camera angles, expert analysis, build-ups, post mortems and all manner of gadgets and gizmos at the other end of a wee red button.

Hard to beat, isn’t it? Irish League football doesn’t really stand a chance. So why do we bother?

Maybe it’s something to do with a sense of belonging, a sense of pride in your own community. Your local club, well, they’re YOUR team.

You know the players – and they’re ordinary blokes like yourself.

You pass the ground on a regular basis, you’ve seen it develop over the years – the lights, the new stand.

You’ve maybe went down on a winter’s morning to help clear snow so the match that afternoon can go ahead, maybe turned up in the summer months to give the old place a much needed lick of paint.

You sell programmes, raffle tickets, attend club dinners, sponsor a player, buy a brick. You do your bit.

Then there’s the match itself. That feeling when things go right on the pitch. The last minute winner enjoyed in the company of your mates not forgetting the despair during the bad times. You’re all in this together.

After the game, walking home, getting stopped in the street, “How’d they do today?”. You’re a real supporter, a true fan. You’re recognised as such. There’s something in that.

And woe betide anyone who dares rubbish your team, especially some ‘expert’ who claims to support some bunch of overpaid prima donna’s they’ll only ever see on the box.

What do they care? It won’t ruin their weekend if ‘their’ team loses or make it if they pick up those precious three points.

Leave them to their replica shirts and their once a season trip over to scoff their prawn sandwiches. They’re not fans, they’re customers.

With you it’s different. It matters. It matters a lot.

Martin Harris

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