The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Dream a little dream of Town

26 October 2020

Miss Guest Diary writes: Regular visitors to Cod Almighty will probably have noticed that, since the world was turned on its head in March, diarists have occasionally struggled for content. I was, therefore, pleased to wake up yesterday morning with a partly-formed outline of a diary in my head. Unfortunately, when I was fully awake, I realised that I couldn’t use it because it was based on something I had dreamt which has not actually happened: the cancellation of the current season.

Premonition or wishful thinking? Most likely the latter.

Last month when he returned from watching Town's 4-0 defeat by Salford at a friend's house, Mr B opined that the only way Town would avoid relegation was if the season were cancelled. Since then Town's performances and results have improved and I have no doubt that the manager will eventually settle upon a line-up and formation which will allow Town to achieve the Holy Grail of mid-table mediocrity.

Having got onboard with iFollow I now have the opportunity to see all of Town's remaining games – something I would not have done in normal circumstances. I have never ventured to Carlisle or Exeter or Barrow, and one visit to Crawley was more than enough. A Tuesday night trip to Forest Green in October? No thank you.

I have even quickly got used to having commentary on the game. I meant no disrespect to the those involved when I mentioned last week that I didn't want "some blokes" telling me what was happening. What I meant was that I simply wasn't used to having a voiceover during a Town game – obviously apart from the many "blokes" I have sat near in football grounds over the years who think they know better than the manager how the game should be played.

So why does my sub-conscious want to put a stop to the football? Simply put – and I know this is not an original thought – football supporting is not a TV show. Match of the Day is a TV show. The World Cup is a TV show. European competitions and the occasional Premier League match are TV shows. For me, watching Town is a live experience and no amount of games on iFollow can make up for that.

Much has been said about the importance of looking after one's mental health in these strange times which, as a counsellor, I fully endorse. For myself, I have managed to weather the lockdown and beyond with a combination of sewing, baking, reading, walking and, latterly, a weekly trip with a friend to a garden centre or local attraction. But come Saturday afternoon there is a gaping void and it is making me increasingly unhappy.

When I was training to be a counsellor I had to write an assignment on the importance of spirituality in counselling. As an atheist this was a challenge, but I eventually concluded that I derive my spiritual wellbeing in large part from the shared experience of watching Town. The highs and lows of being with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of others who are mostly strangers but have a common desire and purpose can be a truly spiritual experience. That rush of pure joy which can happen when your team scores is magical, and I miss it. Jumping around your front room with one or two other people is never going to be an adequate substitute.

I miss being part of a crowd, even one where many of its members can annoy or appal me at times. I miss being the 12th man. Now I just feel like a face pressed against the window staring in at strangers in stripes. UTM