Following the all-too-predictable news that MUSA’s proposed (and much needed) Open Meeting - scheduled in December for February (nothing like striking while the iron is hot, is there...) - is now to be held in March (if at all), I got to thinking about the sad state of affairs about my decay as a supporter of Maidenhead United FC Ltd.
The following is a random, non-linear timeline of what was once blind loyalty and has now dissolved into complete indifference:-
- Being able to count on one hand the number of missed games in ALL competitions over a 15 (FIFTEEN!) plus year period. This includes some truly noddy games, such as the Carlsberg and Puma Cups, and the infamous Leyton Pennant on the Wednesday, Romford on the Saturday and Croydon on the Monday away trio of matches at the end of a season when we were fighting for that coveted 14th spot.
- Spending literally hundreds of hours making homemade MUFC flags in a tiny flat.
- Shouting so loud and hard at matches I gave myself a headache, never mind everyone else.
- Feeling proud that fans of many other clubs comment on how vocal our support is, especially given its size.
- Having my now-wife asking me if Maidenhead United FC was more important than her, when asking her to marry me. *Hangs head in shame*
- Knowing not just the players, but their wives/girlfriends, management and pretty much all the fans, with the club 'as-one'.
- Spending entire summers working down the club, at one stage helping to protect it from break ins and vandalism by spending entire Friday and Saturday nights down there before going to bed at 7am, AND catching the culprits.
- Providing not only the labour but also the materials, given the clubs zero budget for such activities.
- Being offered free season tickets for work performed, only to politely turn it down on the basis that the club needed the money, before buying a Season Ticket anyway.
- Heavy involvement in the formation of Maidenhead United Supporters Association.
- Talking your then-employers into advertising in the matchday programme, plus them inadvertently sponsoring the production c/o their photocopier, as the club's quite often didn't work.
- Coordinating fund-raising for nominated charities and towards the covering at the Canal End. Remember that next time it's raining and the team are kicking down the slope.
- Knowing the fixtures for the whole season pretty much off by heart.
- Alan Dev leaves, knowing that Roger and Jean are. The beginning of the end of the special club-atmosphere which pre-dated his arrival. The USP of MUFC, as commented by fans of many other clubs, but taken for granted by us at the time.
- Following yet another reprimand from the club, following our mate Dennis Greene moving in, considering watching first loves Leeds again, a club I hadn't really bothered with when they were actually challenging for honours and playing in the Champions League.
- A convenient ban means that I don't get to attend the 'gun to the head' meeting when the club gets turned over to Pharmalink. Swanny and his cohorts have a lot to answer for.
- Then being told that it's the best thing that could have happened to the club.
- Seeing tw@ts like Rasher suddenly stop watching his beloved Chelse to start watching his newly beloved MUFC Ltd. Lifelong fan, apparently, despite players in the top 5 all time appearance list for MUFC not even knowing who he is.
- 'Any cnut can wear a tie' at Redbridge. A watershed moment, looking back.
- Deciding to not bother with dull away games like Thurrock, and also nondescript home games. The camaraderie of The Anchor starts to kick in and we spend more time there.
- Having the intention of going to home matches, only to get a text in the first three minutes to say that MUFC are losing, before ambling over for the second half.
- Getting to the stage where it's only occasionally worth going over the road at all, and only when there's a chance to wind up the likes of Delroy or have a good sing-song.
- Only knowing what the next 2 or 3 fixtures are.
- Not bothering to even go to the pub with the intention of going to home matches, as there's more productive things to do, like DIY or cutting the grass.
- The new regime of fans wondering why this noisy, slightly sweary, disaffected group just appear at random, interrupting their nice family-friendly, safe, dull environment. To some, an environment enlivened by plastics on the terraces (ironically I voted against when a members club, and raised at subsequent MUFC Ltd AGMs to no effect). An accident waiting to happen, IMO, and ultimate Mousedom.
- The new-improved MUFC Ltd, where you'll do what you're told. Or else. Suddenly, things have never been better. Attendances, atmosphere and home results especially would suggest otherwise.
- Ebbsfleet. Enough said.
- NOT being allowed to go to home games, full stop.
- Realising that the majority of the current MUSA committee can't see beyond kowtowing to the club to even bother investigating the principles of EUFC-gate, preferring to deal in the emotions of who was involved then making convenient excuses in order to avoid the issue altogether. Grow a pair, the lot of you.
- Deciding that going to places like Herne Bay, Chertsea (sic) and North Leigh is more fun than spending afternoon's with people you can't stand, watching a team you can no longer recognise, representing a club you no longer have any real affinity with.
- Realising that trips to places like Herne Bay, Chertsea and North Leigh ARE more fun, where your presence is actually appreciated, rather than suffered.
- Not being bothered to go to M**low for a cup tie that you, plus about 20 others, previously took a half-day off work for in the past.
- Getting to February without even having seen a total of 90 minutes of MUFC Ltd first team 'action', and not missing it.
- Knowing that people who've actually been going to York Road this season probably wish they hadn't.
- Realising that you've seen more MUFC Ltd reserve team action so far this season. And it was actually worth watching...
- Realising that, had it not been postponed last weekend, you'd have seen more of Cinderford Town FC this season than MUFC Ltd.
- Feeling embarrassed that less fans sometimes go to Saturday league away games than used to go to dumps like Canvey Island midweek fully expecting the team to get hammered, when MUFC played at a lower level.
- Not even knowing who MUFC Ltd are playing this Saturday.
- Considering saying 'they' instead of 'we'. That hurts.
- Chuckling at the fact that MUFC Ltd haven't won a home league game since the ban started. Karma. Feel sorry for (some of) the fans though.
I've never said I was perfect. Far from it. I've never been dishonest, though, and at least you knew where you stood.
Also, at least I realise it. A few others could do with a similar epiphany.
Things have never been better? You could've fooled me.....