Mistaken for Strangers
Weymouth v Arlesey Town
Saturday 23rd November 2013
The Calor League Premier Division
Bob Lucas Stadium, Weymouth
Being a Weymouth fan this season should be easy. Lifelong fans are in charge of the club, after years of abuse at the hands of weapons grade arseholes Malcolm Curtis and George Rolls, and a decent team has been assembled.
But Weymouth FC barely exists as a functioning football club. It's a tiresome board room soap-opera that's long outstayed its welcome, its daily episodes played out to a baffled, dwindling and continually disinterested audience. Fans don't know the good guys from the villains, the investor from the asset stripper; the plot lines are of dodgy deals and double agents, of petty name calling and calls for solidarity, strongly worded statements to the press and messages available only to those able to read between the lines. It's tiring. It's pathetic.
A cup of woe.
The terraces are empty at kick off. It's depressing. The shouts on the pitch provide the atmosphere. Those who remain are seemingly too stunned to even be apathetic to the whole thing. I don't miss the days of the Conference, 7,000 against Oxford United. I miss the anticipation of going to the ground, the “hello's” and nodded greetings with those I once shared a 4 hour coach journey to Baldock with, I miss feisty floodlit games against Havant & Waterlooville on cold winter nights in front of 750, with the terraces warmed by our passion for our club (and dislike for Billy Gilbert).
The shouts on the pitch get drowned out, the focus shifts to he match. Joyce, Yetton and Ford are a decent strike force, the football is skillful at times, the linesman gets barracked (“ you tosspot”, “ you deadbeat”) and the shouts from the old ladies of the Babs stands are as nutty as ever (“Hold the line!!! Hold the line!!!” “Watch out for the gingar”). The half time scores are read out, the raffle numbers follow, the fans change ends. These parts of Weymouth FC are all working as they should be.
The others equalise. Their one fan claps wildly.
In the second half we, as we always should do, attack the golf course end. The sun disappears behind the main stand, the floodlights come on, it's bitterly cold and the crowd are now roaring the team forward. The old feelings return, this is how I remember it. Weymouth FC is watching us attack the golf course end on a cold Saturday afternoon, it's David Laws barrelling in winners, Alex Browne dribbling the ball out of defence and it's Mark Boulton being genuinely useless. When the final whistle goes and we've won the feeling is great. This is why the hardcore 400 remain and it's what, no doubt, those who aren't here for whatever reason really miss. This is what you remember as a fan, the players, the memories connected to the stadium, not the finger pointing and willy waving of those in charge.
Token match shot.
We all want the club to be in a position of harmony and stability, with a focus on creating more great memories from those wearing the terra cotta and blue of our club. If the team is to succeed and the club is to move forward then those in charge need to remember the feelings they had as real fans on the terraces. The elation from last minute winners at the golf course end on cold Tuesday evening's, the despair of being knocked out of the FA Cup to Hinckley and Boxing Day battles over the Ridgeway. It's what we all want, it cant be that hard.