THE LEAGUE OF IRELAND FANS SURVIVAL GUIDE
(All every diehard fan needs to actually get through a season without taking their own life!)
1.OPTIMISM; Even if it’s hopeful, misplaced or pure blind, every fan from Dundalk to Derry, Waterford to Wexford and all in-between will have dreams somewhere between winning 33 games in a row or avoiding finishing last and not getting beat 17-0 by Fanad United in the first round of the cup.
2. SAT-NAV: If you intend travelling by car to Sligo and don’t want to end up stuck in Donegal talking to a farmer called Joe and his five sheep in the field you actually thought there was a football stadium in, then a Sat-Nav is a must. Sure they do lead the odd person into a bog when it’s a city centre you’re looking for, but if you don’t want the entire supporters club laughing themselves sick at you in the pub then invest in one.
3. QUIRKY CHANTS; Most club’s can be very mundane in their choice of chants to the opposing fans, so it’s handy to have an array of one-line put downs to quieten even the most nosiest of travelling supporters. Slogans like “Come in a taxi-You must have come in a taxi” are nice when there are three fans from Wexford Youths in your ground, whilst “Can we play you every week?” is a bit predictable when you’re 6-0 up after 15 minutes. More clever ones would feature “Your shish and you know you are” when there’s a Turkish player in the opposing side, or “Are you Salthill in disguise?” whilst hammering Shamrock Rovers.
4. A SCAPEGOAT: The more common name for the person in the middle with the whistle in his mouth. Often known as “the b****** in the black” you can be sure there will be an array of officials that will “reportedly” have cost your team at least 78 points this season. It’s an impossible job, though sometimes it’s hard to feel any sympathy when your right back has been carried off on a stretcher with half his leg still on the pitch and the ref’s waved play on!
5. MOANING FANS: No stadium is complete without the guy who happens to sit behind you every game, moans when your team aren’t 4-0 up after 45 seconds, wants the manager, board, kit man, tea-lady and “Sparky” the team mascot sacked. Even when your club hits a 95th minute wonder goal from 40 yards he complains the ball boy obscured his view, calls the team lucky and tries to tear up his season ticket before someone points out the obvious....it’s laminated.
6. LUCKY ITEMS OF CLOTHING; You may think the guy alongside you in that musty smelling trench coat is a vagrant who’s come in off the street to see if there’s any free soup going at the RSC but chances are he’s wearing the dodgy smelling coat because he first wore it when Waterford United won away at Cork City and now links a piece of fabric to the main reason 11 men on the pitch are winning every week.
7. A RADIO: This applies to at least one fan in every football ground. You know the guy folks. The one who spends half the time watching the game whilst pulling an array of faces the other half and tapping his right ear so he can make sure the voice over the airwaves said. Occasionally throws out the misleading “Bohemians 0 Longford Town 7” before getting kicked to death.
8. AN EX-PLAYER TO RIDICULE: They may have gone onto greater things since leaving your club but there’s nothing more gratifying then seeing an ex- player fail gloriously at about 15 other clubs, put on five stone and end up back in the very ground he started off at, on the opposing end, and then getting beat 5-0 (with him scoring three own goals)
9. A BANK LOAN - If you’re going to every home and away game.
10. A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOUR – You need to be able to look on the bright side of life when your team are 6-0 away on a cold Tuesday night, the heavens have opened, the car has a flat tyre and the child’s just dropped your chips.