I think there are three types of football fan. The hopelessly optimistic, the realist, and the horribly pessimistic. We’ll leave out the hooligans for now, because I think they stretch the definition of fan slightly too far.
Of those, I count myself amongst the pessimistic, and I have been informed this on multiple occasions. I’d like to think I’m more of a realist, but sadly that just isn’t the case. I do though feel I have some cause for my constant cynicism, as being a supporter of Yeovil Town, there isn’t really too much to be positive about these days.
It’s pretty widely acknowledged within football that you stick with your club through thick and thin, but that’s so much easier said than done. It’s pretty much the message put across in the club’s song, Yeovil True. I will note now though that Yeovil True is without a doubt the worst song for any football club in the world, and I say that with limited musical knowledge. It is absolute garbage (But, I’ll leave a link if anyone wants a bit of a laugh). Anyway, one of the lines in that is “Yeovil true, through and through, whether we’re up or down.” Over the last years I haven’t seen many ups, just a hell of a lot of downs.
They say that you have an undying love for your club, and that never fades, but that just isn’t the case. Quite frankly, I hate this club 99% of the time, and it drives me absolutely mad. Take the last few months. One win in 18 league games, a new two-year contract for the league’s most incompetent manager, and a supporters meeting where manager Darren Way told the fans they knew nothing about football, and showed off his massive ego.
There are times you wonder why you bother at all. The penalty shootout loss to non-league Solihull Moors stands out as a real low for me, where I think the only positive that night was the quality of the pies at the ground. Add that to a couple of hammerings at Doncaster, one at Notts County, and every part of the day at Stevenage, and it almost feels like I should have learnt my lesson at this point.
But no, I continue to make these errors, and perhaps the biggest of these was the opening day trip to Bury. I somewhat nonsensically decided that this season would be different, and it was worth leaving the house at eight in the morning to head to Manchester. Nine hours later, and I was watching Yeovil, now playing with nine men after having two players sent off, concede a last-minute winner.
With it also being somewhere north of Watford, the train was delayed, meaning that I ended up on the 9pm Sheffield to Lincoln train, which I’m sure attracts a totally different breed of people. So come finally getting home at 10:30pm, I had spent over 10 hours travelling to watch a terrible game of football, conceded a last minute goal, and come home on a train full of drunk people starting fights with one another every five minutes. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
There’s an addictiveness to it, even in losing. There’s a reason I keep going back, regardless of what I’ve seen in the past. I’ll still make trips to places like Swindon, Northampton and Crewe in the next few months, and I can guarantee at least one of them will end in a horror story.
But I’ve learnt, or just come to accept, that as a fan you live for the good days, however rare they may be. You have to take the 686 days without seeing your side win in person to enjoy that moment a little bit more. The bad days are almost worth it for them good days- the 6-2 win over Coventry, the 4-0 victory away at Notts County, and the 4-3 comeback win over Barnet.
There is a humour aspect with supporting a lower league club as well that you don’t really get with one of the big boys. At Tranmere, the Yeovil fans wore dunce hats after Way told them they knew nothing about football. You wouldn’t get that with Manchester United fans.
It is worth these lows, so we can make the most of the highs when they come along, though, in all honesty, I really wish there were a few more highs.