Why Be A Football Fan?…

Two weeks is a very long time in football.

Being a die-hard Ipswich Town fan, I got the train to Bristol on the first day of the season. After a summer with no football, the expectation and excitement of the new campaign kicking off was at an all time high.

A Michael Chopra brace and Lee Martin strike helped Ipswich beat Bristol City 3-0, putting the Tractor Boys on top of the pile after week one.

However, it hasn’t quite been plain sailing since.

A cup defeat at the hands of League 2 Northampton Town on our own patch; a home defeat to Hull 1-0, followed by a 5-2 demolition at Portman Road by newly promoted Southampton.

And the icing on the cake was two weeks ago, a shambolic and gutless performance, resulting in a 7-1 hammering, away at Peterborough.

To make it worse, that crushing defeat was broadcast to the country on Sky Sports.

And its results like this one which do make you wonder why you put yourself through the trials and tribulations of being a football fan.

Still being a young adult, I was not around to see the glory days of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

But just over a decade ago, I was watching UEFA Cup Football at Portman Road. I witnessed Alun Armstrong power a header past Toldo to beat Inter Milan 1-0, after a memorable campaign where we managed a 5th place finish. The previous season we drew with the ‘Big 4’, and equalled Manchester United’s 10 away victories that year.

We even beat Liverpool at Anfield.

At one point in the season, after beating Manchester City at Maine Road 3-2, we put ourselves third in the league, behind Arsenal and United.

And there I was, at London Road with my Dad and brother, watching Ipswich capitulate against Peterborough.

Losing football games is a bit of a strange feeling; you can’t realistically expect to win every game, but there is always the air of disappointment when you lose, even when its a given you are going to get beat.

But 7-1, that was a sickener.

On reflection however, it is what being a football fan really all is about.

You take the rough with the smooth; the thick with the thin, the good with the bad, just living in the hope that one day you will be back at the top someday.

Its days like that which makes any potential success that our football teams may have all that much sweeter.

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