Coca-Cola, npower, Sky Bet you name it the Football League has had its name changed as frequently as Malcom Tucker dishes out new insults, but to the core of rain-drenched pessimistic masses its charm will never leave our hearts. Whether your team is York or Yeovil, Charlton or Chesterfield we all share a common bond, one of futile devotion and a propensity for even more futile hope.
As the supporter of a certain Berkshire based Yo-yo club, my team has had the ups and the downs – receiving a footballing colonoscopy from Arsenal home and away being the one of those unforgettably low moments. With the inevitable relegation, tears and the loss of key players a return to the Football League brought me a feeling of hope. I felt this as in the Championship and Football League in general, unlike many other leagues, it can be anyone’s year, and as Dean Windass proved so gloriously in 2008, it can be any players year too.
To the snooty tooty fans of Premier League teams who have never even heard of the Old Den or the Alamo that is Huish Park, the Football League is no more than a pen for nurturing cannon fodder for the upcoming seasons. But, as Swansea and however much it pains me to say this, Stoke under Tony Pulis have proved, the Football League has provided some teams of quality footballing entertainment and…well, long throw-ins. Admittedly some games in the Football League leave a lot to be desired, with sturdy centre halves and the Akinfenwa bullies of the world occasionally detracting from any real spectacle.
the Alamo that is Huish Park…
This occasionally tortuous style of football aside, one of the brilliant aspects of the Football League is certainly the history of tempestuous touchline tacticians, the Ian Holloways, Di Canios and the Warnocks. Ian Holloway being the only sporting figure let alone football coach, to use brothels as a metaphor for a lack of finishing ability. To this day I will never know if the Football League attracts such lunatics or simply causes managers to become them. This being said, having to put up with the odd pie scoffing pensioner providing managerial pointers from about 3ft away would test most people’s mental strength.
Finally, what is by far my favourite aspect of the Football League. The fans themselves. To start off, nobody in their right mind would want to travel from Doncaster to Yeovil. However, capacity for great feats of travel aside, it is the spirit of these pilgrims of mediocre football that make the Football League so great. Whether the opposition goalkeeper has just spectacularly hashed a goal kick or one of your players has just kneed one in from 10 cm, the cheers will be equally jubilant.
In all likelihood you probably have a club in the Football League near you. If you desire pies of questionable contents and want to support a team that always has much room for improvement, then a team in the Football League is for you.