Your very presence at Edgar Street may have a small but real effect on a game and the future of the club. This team needs the cash you handed over at the turnstile; it needs your voice of encouragement. You would be missed if you failed to make the effort. You are a real football fan.
All of us know plenty of other football fans who pledge an undying allegiance to the big names in football, the Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea of this world. They might never even have been to Manchester, Liverpool or London. They buy the replica shirts, the duvet covers, the keyrings, the car stickers, and the wallpaper, but never a match ticket. Their support is limited to watching Sky or Match of the Day. Would Manchester United miss that fan if he decided to watch Love Island instead? Probably not. I refer to these people as Premiership fans.
I used to be a Premiership fan. I grew up in a number of places before my parents settled in Hereford 35 years ago. In 1981 I watched Tottenham win the FA Cup. Since then, I have followed Tottenham from afar. I did make it to White Hart Lane once, to see Spurs lose 4-3 to Ipswich. I still take interest in their results but the affinity is not really there.
I don’t recall the exact moment my allegiance swung in favour of Hereford, but it was probably a trip to Nottingham in the FA Cup during the 1991/92 season. Travelling up the M1 in a convoy of coaches and watching the team battle with a top flight side gave me a huge sense of pride. Despite the 0-2 score, I went home that day feeling excited about football.
Twenty years later and I still get that sense of excitement every time I walk up to Edgar Street on a match day. There’s nothing like it. Watching the Whites away on a wet Tuesday night can be even more special. I know my presence makes a difference.
What am I trying to say?
Well, the point is, I feel sorry for the millions of Premiership fans who have never in my opinion experienced that feeling of “being there”. I’ve wondered recently what would happen if the powers that be decided to move the franchise of Manchester United FC to America to play in the MLS? It may seem far-fetched but is there anything to stop them? Would that have any effect on the majority of fans? Very little, in my opinion. Is there any difference in them playing in Los Angeles or Manchester if you are sat on a sofa in Chertsey?
So, here’s my idea. When we’re allowed back into Edgar Street everyone should persuade a Premiership fan to come along for the next home game. If that happened it would be a real boost to Hereford in the short term, and maybe that football fan will enjoy it sufficiently enough to come back again. Who knows, they might even become a real football fan.