There once was a time that missing a game would be a cardinal sin to me.
Mansfield Town matches dominated my life – they came first and run of the mill things like School, well they came very much second!
I’ve been privileged enough over the years to be able to continue to attend matches like a consistent stalker, sneakily making a “career” out of it, by providing coverage on a number of platforms.
As the years progressed, one thing became clear – I had to get a real job! That, sadly, brought an end to attending every single match – I only ever missed ONE game during the conference years, in fact prior to promotion, in around ten years of following the club I’d missed less than 10 games.
Nowadays though it’s a different story, work and finance dominates as it does for every supporter. I had however managed to continue to attending home games, until yesterday – trust me to miss our first home win in god knows how long which included TWO penalty saves!
Whilst working yesterday, I couldn’t help but raise a wry smile to memories of the days I used to do anything to attend a game.
I hated school with a passion, I didn’t crave text books or the way teachers would try to inspire – Mansfield Town were my text book, my inspiration. Given the poor form, they were always in back in those days, my education was limited to say the least!
Still I preferred that to the ACTUAL education the Joseph Whitaker Secondary School (Circa 2002-07) offered me.
When Mansfield had long away games (by long I mean ones were the supporters coach left before 4pm), I used to take the day the whole day “off” (My pretend cough was pretty convincing).
I’d been pushing those stories for a while and to be honest, the schools were seeing right through them. They actually GAVE UP eventually, on a Tuesday morning my tutor, Miss Kinnear, would ask at morning registration if there was a game that evening and whether or not I’d be still in school in the afternoon.
The Stags went onto loose heavily that night and the next morning, I was given a MASSIVE rollickin and marched me off to the heads office.
The head, who is now retired, also gave me a tongue lashing. The head sat me down, offered me a cuppa and talked at length about the game! And his best biscuits too.
I’m used to it now of course, although it still hurts having to miss games.
I’ve realised you can still be a supporter without being at games, that passion never dies inside – it makes it even better when the boys do the business! It’s just a shame they didn’t in Hartlepool that night, it was a long way home.