Guest writer Chris Manning assesses why you’d actually bother supporting a club like ours.
Let’s be frank – supporting Bolton Wanderers is a pretty thankless task. We’re not glamorous, we’re not known for playing attractive tiki-taka style football and we don’t have the best players in the world. We struggle to attract large crowds, we haven’t won a trophy in donkeys years and we have a huge orange blob in the middle of our shirts that looks like an Oompa Loompa used it for toilet roll. Our stadium isn’t in Bolton, we’re currently in a slump that has lasted for two years and we are in debt.
So why bother?
Some might term it as a duty – with family ‘forcing’ new generations to don the shirt and head down to the matches.
Masochism – the reasons in the opening paragraph can often be reason enough. An old saying that I often heard whilst growing up was ‘Bolton folk are never happier than when they’ve missed a bus’. Revelling in the misery of supporting someone like the club surely falls under some form of mental illness. We don’t half like a good old moan.
Obsession – Football is the national game, and we’re now used to having it shoved down our throats 24/7 by television, newspapers and the internet.
Mental illness – It really makes no sense. Fork out a ton of money to watch a load of rich boys boot around an inflated pigskin on grass for 90mins whilst sat in the rain and cold whilst not having an especially pleasant time.
Yet season after season approximately 20,000 of us turn up at the Reebok every other week to sit through the football. However all the above is immediately forgotten when we score a goal. That feeling of elation and happiness is incomparable no matter the context of the game. To celebrate and to hug the nearest stranger in a wild fashion would probably earn you a custodial sentence in any other walk of life.
To see your club rise from the depths of Division Four to the heights of the Allianz Arena, from your first game at home to Darlington to games against the giants of European football and your little club doing themselves proud in the process makes everything worthwhile. It makes the hours spent travelling worthwhile, it makes every pound spent worthwhile and it makes every single defeat worthwhile. It’s a unique sport, and it provokes unique emotions in everybody and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
After all – what else are we going to do on a Saturday? Shopping with the wife? D.I.Y.? No chance.