KEVIN HALLS says fans need to be fully pre­pared for a long, hard sea­son…

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Sup­port­ers need to be ready, too!

THE new sea­son has started and, as all fol­low­ers of the beau­ti­ful game know only too well, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

In other words, it’s not a ca­sual stroll in the park, but more of a test of strength and en­durance. That’s not just for the play­ers, but also for us fans who go to games week in, week out.

Foot­ball can be bru­tal at times and it’s not a sport for the tim­o­rous fan, or one of a ner­vous dis­po­si­tion.

They can wob­ble and buckle when their side hits a rough patch, as they lack the grit needed to get through the dark times.

They lack the tough­ness of the more ex­pe­ri­enced sup­porter who has seen it all be­fore and who, like a boxer who’s down on the can­vas, finds the met­tle to get back to his feet and carry on.

A foot­ball sea­son can also be likened to a roller­coaster ride with all its twists and turns, or a rugged ob­sta­cle course with many hur­dles to get over be­fore the race is com­pleted.

As fans, we need to be pre­pared just like a foot­baller is to take some knocks along the way.

When a player re­turns from his sum­mer break these days, he ar­rives in good shape as he knows he’s in for some re­ally tough train­ing ses­sions.

He’ll be run­ning up hills, do­ing lots of situps, press-ups, stom­ach crunches and hours of weight train­ing in the gym.

So it makes sense to keep in trim or that player will no doubt re­ally strug­gle.

But us sup­port­ers also need to ar­rive for a new sea­son in de­cent nick, too.

Ob­vi­ously, that doesn’t mean we have run up steep hills or sweated buck­ets pump­ing iron, of course not.

Yet we do need to turn up for the open­ing games with at least a pos­i­tive men­tal at­ti­tude.

Many fans, though, ar­rive with a neg­a­tive mind­set, they’re ap­a­thetic and lack oomph.

It’s re­flected in what they say,‘Here we go again,’ or ‘We’re go­ing to get beat, so what’s the point ?’.

In fact, as a Coven­try City sup­porter we should have all those words em­bla­zoned across the club’s shirt – we’ve been through so much bad stuff we’re ex­pect­ing doom and gloom even be­fore a ball has been kicked!

But that’s neg­a­tive think­ing so we do need to get rid of it and re­place it with pos­i­tiv­ity, even though that is eas­ier said than done. A new sea­son can be seen as a fresh slate and a new be­gin­ning.Yet sup­port­ers who have been watch­ing their team for decades, like my­self, could be com­pared to en­durance ath­letes. We keep on go­ing and bat­tle on through the pain and agony, we take it on the chin and when the good times do oc­ca­sion­ally turn up, we em­brace and en­joy them. ‘When the Go­ing Gets Tough, the Tough Get Go­ing’. That was the hit record by Billy Ocean, a nice catchy song. But it could have been aimed at foot­ball fans ev­ery­where as to get to the end of a long, gru­elling sea­son you will need to pos­sess for­ti­tude, back­bone, strength – be­cause there will be times when your side may be wob­bling and the play­ers will need your sup­port to get them through it. So to sup­port­ers of clubs all across the land, I hope you’re all in tip-top con­di­tion and ready for the con­test ahead? Be­cause if you’re not, you may be flag­ging half­way through, you’ll be knack­ered and worn out. And, heaven for­bid, even ready to throw in the towel. In that case it won’t be Billy Ocean you’ll be singing along to, you’ll be shout­ing out loudly the Bea­tles clas­sic: HELP!

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