A few weeks ago Reidski and I watched Northampton play Brentford on Sky Sports in a popular town pub. OK, not exactly a high profile match, but featuring as it did our local side I expected the pub to be quite busy and made sure I was in there early to secure a good seat and view of one of the many TV screens. I need not have worried. There was PLENTY of space. I reckon there were probably about a dozen of us in specifically to see the game and one of those was a Scot who really supports Millwall.
Fast forward to last night and same pub, different match. Yes, of course I accept that Liverpool v Barcelona in the Championship League is a much bigger match, and no, I am not surprised that it was standing room only by the time we got there, but what was slightly surprising was the number of people in there who were obviously Liverpool fans.
It was clear that the people crammed in the pub last night did n't just have a general interest in football but were there to support 'Their' team. Most of them had Liverpool shirts on. They hung on every pass in the way that only people who really really care about the outcome of a match can do. However, there was a distinct lack of Scouse accents. I rather suspect (yes, I acknowledge I could be wrong but...) that they were not in fact from Liverpool, but were actually all local.
Geographical fact coming up.
Northampton (which has had a football league side of its own for about 110 years) is 149 miles from Liverpool.
Most of the people in the pub last night were of an age that made me think they probably started supporting Liverpool when they were in primary school and Liverpool were winning everything going in the 70's and 80's. I know that at that age you can fall for a side on the basis of success and that maybe I was just unfortunate to fall for a lower league side.
What I do also know though is that lower league sides face a constant battle to stay in business. We have an average attendance of about 5,000 home supporters. We have a population of about 250,000 people. It seems a shame that a few of the passionate football supporters in that pub last night can't get themselves along to support the local side instead of spending good money on Liverpool replica shirts and Sky Sports subscriptions as that is for most of them I assume the only way they ever get to see 'Their' side play.
Milton Keynes which is about 15 miles from us is a new town and had no football team. They recognised that a town needs league football so they pinched Wimbledon who have now magically morphed into 'MK Dons'. There is so much I could say about that but I would never get to work if I started on that subject right now. (Suffice to say I disapprove strongly.) However, at least they did see the importance of having a league side to a city/town. I don't think there are many people in this town who give a damn about Northampton Town Football Club.
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