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Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?



I'm Ashamed to Be A Football Fan

By: Ray Lucas
Date: 24/03/2002

I HAVE not written an article for some time, but I broke my silence to reveal my contempt for footballers who think they are better than ordinary people.

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It annoyed me so much, I am considering never attending again.

I'm a disabled person, who attends 3 or 4 games a year if I'm lucky. Although I'm a Town fan, I've taken an interest in Ade's career right from the beginning. I couldn't believe it when he denied me a simple autograph.

Grimsby Town look like pulling off another great escape. I should be happy, but an incident marred my enjoyment of Town's great display. I don't get to many games, but those I attend I take my autograph book to, in the hope of adding a name or two. I was delighted to learn that former Leicester star Ade Akinbiyi was on the bench. I had the idea of asking him to sign my book. What I got shocked me. It took me 5 minutes to attract his attention, but when I finally did, he said no.

Realising I was disappointed, a man sitting near me decided he would go and speak to Mr Akinbiyi on my behalf. From someone I had just met, this was a brave gesture. Unfortunately, all the man in question got for his pains was abuse from Palace's physio. This was the first game I had been to since Christmas, and I should have enjoyed it. Instead, it left me feeling hurt, angry and disappointed. I complained to a steward at half-time. She took my address, but so far I have heard nothing. At times like this football makes me feel sick. I have contemplated writing an official letter to the Crystal Palace football club. In an ideal world, I would settle for the autograph. But all I really want is an apology.

What has happened to the friendly image football once had? Maybe I'm to blame for asking for an opposing player's autograph, but past players like Portsmouth's Scott Hiley, Liam O'Brien of Tranmere and former Palace ace Marcus Bent (now with Ipswich) have obliged. So why should Ade Akinbiyi be different? I'm very disappointed, but that's football for you.

All I want is an autograph and a possible apology from someone at Palace. Surely I'm not asking too much?

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