Story by Sarah Mobbs
This week, I had planned to talk about the first week of the 12/13 season; however, I’m actually going to bring it back to something much closer to (my) home – the sad and impending demise of my local pub team.
Just under a month ago, at the start of the pre-season friendlies, thing were looking very promising; we weren’t winning, but we certainly had a very full team and a firm and seemingly dedicated manager. And now, only 3 weeks later, it seems as though the team will fold. And I’m not really sure I can explain why. We have, admittedly lost 3 of our best players to other teams and with the loss of one the latter we have also lost the manager, yet still, there are those willing to slip back into the management saddle and still enough players to make the team. But I don’t think this is enough. There is no desire to keep the team going any longer. And this makes me sad.
It makes me sad for many reasons, not least the fact that it gave us all a good excuse to go back to the local for a few pints afterwards. The local team didn’t exactly bring everybody together as it did when it was first established many, many years ago, but it was enough that it did at least bring some spectators together, so you met a few new friends, found yourself a couple of new drinking partners but best of all found that the game was made so much more fun because you didn’t feel an idiot shouting support (and indeed abuse) because you weren’t alone.
It’s also a sad thing that the local team wasn’t entirely local. Due to a combination of older players “retiring” and the younger lads leaving for university, we found ourselves having to draft players who were friends, or even friends of friends from as far as 30 miles away. Ironically, these were the players that turned up every week and gave their all every week (well, there’s no point travelling all that way not to, really). This Thursday just gone though was possibly one of the most depressing things I have seen. Although the weather wasn’t brilliant there were a few people gathered to watch what they believed to be their team, and in place of many of them were members of the away team; making up our numbers! And even then, at one point we were down 3 men. However, I suppose, if it is to be our last game, at least we went out with a bang… The match finished early because the was a fight!
The only thing I can say, is that at least, hopefully, other local teams will still continue to grow and play; it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for many of them, having pinched our players before the beginning of our season, and now, I’m sure many more will follow.
The saddest thing for me though about the collapse of our local team is actually a question I have to ask myself; “What on Earth am I going to with myself on a Sunday now?” Perhaps I could try and start a women’s team…