The Armitage Shanks Memorial Clock
It has been:
since anyone took a crap on the floor in the Boycott End
Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? It’s been a while since we had a visit from the Kingston lot, as you can see from the clock above. It should be pointed out that the clock wasn’t reset after their last visit, as apparently the handful they bought with them for the JPT match were actually toilet-trained. The cleaning firms of Milton Keynes are obviously hoping for a return to form this time, however the rest of us are hoping for a more civilised visit – we’ll keep you posted, and if needs be, we’ll reset the clock.
It can’t be easy for the Kingston lot when they have to play us. Hidden somewhere in the depths of that club, I’m pretty certain that there are some principled people who will never have anything to do with us. I presume that they are also the people who with good conscience asked supporters of other clubs to boycott games against us for many years. Obviously over the years the number of people who paid any attention to boycott calls diminished dramatically – more away fans generally visit us than visit any other club in our division – but even now, long after the calls for a boycott stopped, a very small number of supporters of other clubs still won’t visit us.
What must it have been like for those principled people, both within Kingston and other clubs, when the Kingston lot first had a chance to show their support for all those who had boycotted in the past? As the ticket sales increased for that first game, even offers to buy back tickets fell on deaf ears, and eventually they bought more than four times their usual away gate. The hypocrisy still amazes me.
The next attempt to save some dignity was to ask all their fans not to spend any money while in the stadium. I felt sorry for the handful of individuals standing by the massed queues at the food concessions, asking people not to spend money and being routinely ignored, as receipts for programme and food sales for a crowd of that size testify. That they crapped on the floor as well was presumably a disappointment, though that’s never been acknowledged.
The most hypocritical, ‘shoot yourself in the foot’ series of acts that I can imagine – I still can’t believe they came.
They’ve been here a couple of times since then, with dwindling away support each time, though that is apparently going to be back up to about 2,000 this time, which is around three times their average away support. Again the papers are full of stories of boycotts, and food boycotts – it will be interesting to see how principled they are this time. Thanks for the money anyway – it’s much appreciated.
So what do you do as a club, if you’re almost entirely defined by your issues with the bastard cousins 60 miles up the road, and your own fans let you down so badly? I’d say that you concentrate on the football, and that’s what they’ve done – they deserve credit for what they’ve achieved on the pitch. They’re now in the same division as us, and they’re currently sitting comfortably above us. They also deserve credit for the ‘just another game’ approach that they’re taking officially in the media, which is in marked contrast to previous games. The usual individuals are still looking to milk the media for all they’re worth, but it would appear that the club itself has learned from their dwindling public support and is sitting back for now. Whether they keep it up will be interesting too.
I don’t prescribe to the ‘just another game’ viewpoint – to me it’s an important game from a footballing rivalry perspective, and I’d like to win it. (Football rivalry it is though – having brought so many people the first time, any pretence that it is anything else has long gone.) In terms of the match, current form suggests that we’re likely to get a bit of a kicking, but games like these can be hard to predict. We’ve got a new boss, and we’re not quite as bad a side as our results suggest.
To Robbie, welcome on board, and a quick suggestion. If you’re looking for a way to establish which of our squad has what it takes to take us forwards, then this is it. If the players aren’t up for this, if they don’t get the importance of this, then there are no further questions to ask. Get rid and play some of the kids who’ll fight for us.
To the fans, just turn up, thank them for their money, sing loud, laugh at their banners/planes/boycotts/toilet habits and win, lose or draw, be proud of all we’ve achieved.
Come on you Dons.