It had to come eventually I suppose. I knew one day it would. I was ready for it when it did happen, almost like I’d been waiting for the inevitable to announce itself. What exactly is IT ?….
It is that moment when you realise that you’ve got to the point of no return. No going back. My own “no going back” is Hull City, my first love, from the age of seven, to an amicable divorce nearly 30 years later. There was no bitterness, no arguments, no threats. Just a realisation, as in any relationship, that things had changed. Time to go out separate ways. Nobody was to blame in this split, just a parting of the ways. We wanted different things. Some of them were thrust upon us, after all my “love” entered the big stage of Premier League football. She’d grown to be a beautiful swan, but I’d been in love with her since she was an ugly duckling, swimming in the water’s of Division’s 3 and 4. I didn’t begrudge the transformation, after all it’s what I’d wanted for years. But she attracted a different kind of attention now, one that wasn’t so much in love with her, the club, more with her the idea, and the situation. They came in, shouting a love for my club that hadn’t been there years before. This crowd wasn’t for me, or the route it was going. I left them to it. I walked away and wished them well, from afar. It hurt, and for a while I clung on to any snippet I could get, but that was like being thrown scraps from the top table. After a year even that wasn’t enough to keep my attention, I decided on an alternative.
Step forward North Ferriby United. At that time a mid-table Northern Premier League side. I’ve had it said to me on Twitter that supporting another team is like cheating on your wife. That you’ll have a look, cast a few glances, but eventually realise what you’ve got and go back to her. I can see that point. You don’t just give up on a marriage because of a sticky patch, or a relegation in football terms ! But as I said, my split was amicable, kind of. We’d gone our own way’s, but I didn’t want to be on my own forever . So I ventured a few miles down the A63, and started all over again. In truth, Ferriby was like going back in time, to almost how I remembered my first love in the early days. An old, well-worn ground, populated by a loyal following, not used to massive amounts of success, just happy to have a fix on their doorstep. The place then, and still today, feels homely, despite the odd improvement to the old girl, as the club made it’s way up the pyramid. Today, just 2 steps from the Football League, or the old Division 4 that I did my formative years in, my footballing apprenticeship has come full circle. I’ve dipped my toes into non-league football, and I love it. She’s my new love, and the feeling is mutual. We both need each other, in a mutually beneficial way, getting as much back as I put in. No demands, no outside influences, just the love of the game that is beautiful in it’s own simple way. For now, untouched by meddling hands, and not turned by fools gold, I can see a long future for us together. I’m back in love with the beautiful game.