LETTER: No break up, no divorce for football fans

In January, Vinny Commons posed a question on this page which I think remains unanswered.

An associate director of Burnley Football Club, Mr John Sullivan, had previously claimed the Premiership was where Burnley Football Club belongs. Vinny asked on what grounds this assertion was based. Surely, he said, the fan of any club could make the same claim, for example, say, Grimsby Town or Rishton Ankle Tappers.

The answer stems from that word fan. Once hooked on supporting a football club, the matter turns into a lifelong love affair. There is no break up, no change, no divorce. Trials and tribulations, highs, lows and even lowers are borne philosophically.

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The phenomenon was portrayed in a lovely book by a Rochdale supporter called, I think, “A Low Level Love Affair”. The Rochdale connection was emphasised a few years ago on my own doorstep when the water main was being renewed in Bents.

A Rochdalian United Utilities employee called to warn me the water supply was being turned off. We chatted and he said he had a brother who had emigrated to Australia and loved the lifestyle there.

I asked why he himself did not emigrate and he said because he would not be able to go to Spotland (Rochdale Football Ground) on a Saturday afternoon!

Our own Mr Pendle displays this love affliction in spades. If the oft struggling Rugby League team Castleford Tigers ever went out of existence, his very soul would shrink.

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Becoming a fan has a built-in genetic feature called rose-coloured spectacles and Mr Sullivan and Mr Pendle are no exceptions. Hope springs eternal!

Not wearing Rishton or Grimsby rose specs, I can objectively say the Ankle Tappers would, by definition, get so many red cards they would rarely be able to field a full team to play in the Premiership.

When Burnley went up to the top flight in 1947 to stay there for most of the next 30-odd years, who went down?

I kid you not, it was Grimsby Town, never to return and now languishing outside the Football League. Dream on, Grimsby!


Bents, Colne