Football is England’s national sport. It’s a passion, an obession, almost a religion. In fact, it’s incredibly similar to religion because everyone thinks theirs is the best and it occasionally causes unjustifiable violence. Growing up as a young boy, the first thing that a new friend would ask you was “Who do you support?” and during the early 1990s, if you didn’t reply “Manchester United” then you were an idiot, apparently.
I grew up a fan of Swindon Town FC. My local, perennially sub-par football team. Back in the day I knew my Wayne Allisons and Shaun Taylors from my Razor Ruddocks and Fraser Digbys, I followed the scores and league standings, even went to a few games. I remember going to a Swindon Town vs. Bradford City match for my birthday and my Dad – who is not a football fan – was sat with us in the Town End trying to look interested.
I am currently trying to re-connect with those feelings. My love for my home town has, if anything, grown in my old age and the chance to cheer my town on in any capacity is important to me. But I forgot why I fell out with football: the [vocal] majority of fans are a bunch of negative nellies (excuse my French.) I joined a few Facebook Fan Pages for Swindon Town, asked about the current state of the team and was met with such abject pessimism it bothered me. Aren’t these people supposed to be fans? Arent’t they supposed to SUPPORT their team? Even if the team is doing poorly, how is moaning about it fun? Luckily I’ve found two organisations that want to put the fun and positivity back in to supporting Swindon Town, Great Western Reds and Red Army Fund.
The Great Western Reds – which I was instantly drawn to because of how great their branding is – is an independent supporters’ group with the goal to get behind the team and create memorable matchday atmospheres home and away, and the Red Army Fund is a crowdsourcing body that wants to get a 10% stake in the club and fund projects like ground and facilities improvements, better communication with the club and a community garden. How lovely is that?!
These two organisations give me so much hope. As discussed in a previous post, Swindon was known for clubbing together and making our town better when those at the top weren’t prepared to take action. These people have seized the power for themselves and, I hope, can make a difference.
No more moaning, time to enjoy football.