"As for Maidenhead, the conga (which was amusing) aside, quite a strange bunch really – some the oddest chants I've ever heard at a football match" ~ localboy86, Amber Planet forum, 26th April 2015

Wednesday 11 December 2013

On Barrow-ed Time

This past week has seen Maidenhead United's support really hit rock bottom ...

Apathy reigns.

Or it would do, if anyone could be bothered.

The evidence? 

1 - More Directors than fans at the recent MUSA meeting. 

OK, so holding it on a Friday night probably wasn't the best of ideas, but still. 

Cloughie proudly proclaims that there are over 100 MUSA members. Correct, but that's just a statistic. What does it actually mean? Not much, clearly, other than people paying a fiver to get rid of him when he comes around the terraces, droning at them. It's certainly a cheap way for a guilt-free year, with no strings attached on the commitment front. That's enough of the seedy analogies, though.

The meeting was to discuss the Chairman's vision of the future for York Road, the new stand etc. Big stuff. Arguably the most significant ground development since the 1930s. Not whether the club had signed the latest Division 6 South superstar. 

For the record, I couldn't be arsed to go and spend my time in such a soul-sapping environment - the Club Shack - with a load of people, many of whom I have no time or respect for.

2 - More players, albeit from MUFC Ladies, than fans at the MUSA race night.

Apparently a decent night in The Anchor, with the Ladies doing the club proud, on the sauce with those fans who did attend. 

Of course, this is wholly unprofessional of them and fully explains why their form has been appalling recently, winning just the seven games since their male counterparts managed a victory in the league at Gosport Borough. 

It's just as well Drax doesn't run the Ladies side, otherwise he'd have suffered heart failure. I mean, drinking the day before a game?! Maybe that's where we've been going wrong. I can feel another wacky drive-around-the-town-to-a-home-game gimmick coming on. If they do want to try said gimmick, let us know and we'll give the squad some coaching en route. What's another three coaches?

Anyway, once I've finished typing this tosh I'm off to the Ladies website (more seedy analogies) to trawl the fixture list and find out when they're playing next. They sound like my kinda team!

Just a shame that only a fraction of those aforementioned MUSA members could be bothered to support the Link Foundation and stand appeal. Still, there's only another 496 seats to raise funds for now.

For the record, I had a Christmas do.

3 - Just 7 (SEVEN, videprinter style) fans wanting to go on the MUSA coach to Barrow.


We took about 55-60 to Blyth Spartans. We'll be lucky to have 5-6 at Barrow, based on the interest shown. 

Yes, so it's just before Christmas - some will be strapped for cash and the odd fan may have a Christmas do - but what about everyone else? How often do chances like this come up? The aforementioned game at Blyth was nearly 13 years ago and is still talked about now. Songs relating to it still get an airing ("Oh Logic pulled"). It is legendary. The 'Miss Whitley Bay G String 2000' competition (held over from the previous year!), a standing ovation from the home support when we left their clubhouse, drunken but friendly tomfoolery well into the early hours, a totally fixed B&B room draw (live from the front of the coach), the coach driver offering to play porn videos on the way up. I'm getting misty-eyed just typing this!

I can recall when the Blyth draw was made and most people (bar Club Shop Guy) were as excited as a kid on Christmas Day who's just been given the latest Sony X-Box One Apple Wii.

In stark contrast, the general consensus re Barrow is one of disdain. 

Terrible draw, too far away, would've preferred someone at home, yada yada yada. 


Most fans - the 'real' ones Drax likes to talk about - of other Skrill (shit sponsorship, BTW, what is it?) South clubs think that we have the most amazing draw possible. For all the reasons I've mentioned above. They reckon we got the plum tie. Most of us clearly beg to differ. We don't deserve such a good draw, IMO, it's wasted on us.

For the record, I'm abroad with work. Gutted at missing it, though.

I do genuinely feel sorry for Rainey (© sponsored by Dell keyboards) - who, as usual, attempted to organise the supporters' coach - but this is the culmination of the way the club's support has gone over the last few years. 

OK, so it's not all about "us lot" - as Carney used to say - but who has come in to replace the dyed-in-the-wool-home-and-away-every-week-sing-yourself-hoarse-half-day-off-work-for-yeovil-away supporter? 

Casual spectators - who are more interested in their twitter feed - and those with nothing else to do but avoid the shops or the pub for an afternoon.

Yes, things have changed in the way people view football over the last 10 years and the pace of life nowadays dictates that people's time appears ever more valuable, so the malaise doesn't just affect MUFC but most sports clubs. Casual home support is one thing, however, but a club's hard-core support can usually be measured by those who take the time to travel away on a regular basis. And this now appears down to virtually zero.

Is it because the team is struggling on the pitch? No, IMO, although that doesn't help. We've watched the team struggle in various divisions over the last 20 years. Drax does appear to have taken this to new heights, however. Or should that be lows?

Anyway, I recall the likes of Bumfluff and Gordon making it fairly clear that one of the main reasons they started - or, more accurately, continued - watching the club was because of the fact there was some atmosphere; you could have a sing-song and a bit of a swear. Ditto, the likes of Freddie J and Lenny B. 

The main point - which the club ignore, or are too stupid to understand - is that the quality of the 'product' on the pitch is nowhere near the top of the list of requirements for following a non-league club. It's about meeting like-minded people, enjoying the camaraderie and togetherness. Us versus the world. Turn up and make a difference. 

That's all gone now. 

Barrow should be the highlight of the supporter's season. A long-distance beano, a night or two away and the chance to possibly bond a bit with the players and management. Not to mention a very winnable game. 

Sad to say, but Fancy Dresslemania represents the only (fleeting) chance for this to happen these days. Even then, I'm getting bored of it; going out of habit and/or loyalty, having done all of them. It feels like the last remaining constant, for me, supporting Maidenhead United. And even that is hanging by a thread.

I've gone mad. Maybe I've also stopped caring.

1 comment:

Lenny Baryea said...

CSG has emailed to say that his response to the Blyth draw was largely influenced by the fact that the game would coincide with his eldest daughter's 8th birthday and so he would be unlikely to go regardless. Apparently he looked into getting a flight up but, understandably, Mrs CSG wasn't particularly keen on that idea. He hasn't considered getting a flight to Barrow and admits that is "sad, really". Indeed. If the likes of CSG and the author of this blog post have - to varying degrees - 'stopped caring', then Maidenhead United is, IMO, dying a slow death.

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