What a satisfying feeling it is to go to a football match convinced you don’t have a sheep’s stomach of a chance of winning and emerge 90 minutes later victorious. The bonhomme in the crowd, the opportunity to study the gloomy faces of opposition fans and gloat, the jaunty walk(or should I say race) along the main road with other departing fans. Totally satisfying!! L.S Lowry captured that walk in one of his paintings; a walk that’s driven by the momentum of restored hope.
As a Stockport County fan, I attend all our matches armed with boredom comforters like toffees, live frogs, a Build your own Viaduct set and that old stand-by, laudanum.
Yesterday’s match with Bury, classed as a local derby, saw us up against a club that had the best away record in the League. We, on the other hand, have a goal difference that could legally qualify for a bus pass.
We had been slightly cheered by the arrival of a new striker from Southend in the week. He was soon blooded, literally, when he collided head first with a Bury player minutes into the match and nearly knocked himself out, needing 4 stitches. 4 stitches increased to 6 stitches as the game went on. His poor father had travelled all the way up from the South coast to watch him play and must have been going through torture witnessing the dressing on his son’s head getting bigger and bigger. Our manager does not believe in taking anyone off until a major artery is severed.
His bravery was to be rewarded, however, as he got that all important goal and in front of his ol’dad at that. I think we may see him wearing head protection next week, possibly an improvised Egyptian saucepan helmet, in club colours, of course.
Following another Bury player biting the dust with concussion, the second goal came from our other striker, Anthony Elding, who hasn’t scored since he came to the club. So moved was he by the occasion that he kissed the Edgeley Park turf and ran half way round the pitch to celebrate. In the postmatch interview, it was obvious he had transformed into a maudlin drunk. His moonwalk speech consisted of, “I really love this club, I really love this club………………………………………….” The interviewer was taken aback by all this raw emotion and momentarily forgot how many players there are in a football team.
And so, dear friends, Stockport County moved off the bottom of the table and I put my frogs back in the canal and dismantled my viaduct for another week.