The Mid-Life Crisis Of A Football Supporter

Ageing hits us all in different but familiar ways; loss of hair, loss of memory, loss of physical abilities… loss of memory. With football fans, as in ‘fanatics’, the ageing process manifests itself in feelings I experienced this week. My team, Ryman League Kingstonian, were playing at a ground to which I’d never been and which was relatively straightforward to get to (or so I thought… see below). And yet… I didn’t want to go. For years, I had a 100% attendance record at Kingstonian matches – some years including pre-season and mid-season friendlies where a “Kingstonian XI” would give “fringe” or “squad” players a game. It would also include whatever mindless cup competition the powers-that-be could concoct (remember the “General Motors Assurance Corporation Premier Inter-League Challenge [GMAC] Cup”? – nicknamed the “Jesus and Mary Chain Trophy”…well, it was the late eighties). I was helped in this ‘cause’ by the fact that Ks played in regional football for all but three of those years. The Ryman Isthmian League consists of teams in England’s South East. And the exceptions were rare, allowing extensive pre-planning of trips; Yeovil Town spent two periods in the league in the 1980s and 1990s – a map of League grounds then resembled the “exclusion zone” around the Falklands in 1982, with Yeovil as the General Belgrano…miles to the west of their adversaries. But even in our...

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