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It's a Worry Football!

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 29/01/2001

The late Bill Shankly - former Grimsby Town manager and that of a few others - famously said about football 'it's not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that'. Some odd individuals with more brain cells than common sense will wax lyrical about what he was 'really' saying.

Others will take the statement literally, decrying the phrase in light of the horrors that surround the world and completely miss its subtlety. But every true footie fan can relate to this tongue in cheek remark. There is nothing quite like it for raising or lowering your spirits than your team's performance. Turning the moods and emotions of even the most placid and mild-mannered of individuals like the flick of switch, when that score comes through.

Bye Bye Lawsey

Of course, this weekend was a particularly good one, Town winning, Bolton stopping Laws (left) from crowing and Moan Utd being heavily defeated 1-0 at home in the FA Cup, what could be better? Better get one of those Old Trafford officials to hastily cancel that alleged hotel booking!

Sunday came and, despite the previous evening's ritual of checking the league, the urge is too strong to ignore and the task must be repeated.

The satisfying feeling of staring at the First Division table on teletext, and there it is, town really are slowly edging away from the bottom. Have you ever stared at the table for several hours? Calculating, calibrating, carrying out what-if scenarios, another three points puts us there assuming this-that-and-the-other, until fellow household members finally point out to you 'sitting and staring at it won't change it you know!'

Walking with the family took us into Great Coates and along the public footpath beside the A180. It is hard to imagine on a crisp Sunday afternoon that here, where there is nothing but water saturated ploughed fields, will eventually be our new stadium in only a few years. Driving past the 'site' does not offer you the same the experience. You cannot get a feel of the sheer size of the land that will be used for this development.

By walking the vast expanse, you begin to understand what, where and how it will be. It simply is not possible to comprehend as you have flash past in the car. Time to reflect, "there's the main entrance off the road, that must be where the south stand will be, over there the hotel..." But it isn't built yet, the diggers aren't even on site and some stadia have not grown higher than their foundations.

So while I dream of being able to say 'I stood here before it was built' I am reminded of Hux's comments during a recent interview. He made the point that provided the planning process is successful, only a lack of finances will stop the development. Make a mental note - worry about not winning the lottery again! If I ever do, how big a donation I will be prepared to make? Make another mental note - worry that this not existent windfall, perhaps, should be better spent on players?

So Hux leaves me as concerned about it going ahead as I am with town avoiding relegation. I think both will be achieved, but it doesn't stop me worrying. After all that is the job of a footie fan - to worry and to worry constantly! If its not wage bills, league position, board room tiffs, we will always find something! I remember the journey back from the Wembley play-offs but despite the elation of promotion, we still discussed how we would survive the following season. Football, you can't live with it and you can't live without it!

The article continues in Part Two

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