I know I am, I’m sure I am….By: Jim | February 18th, 2009
The vultures are circling. Sky expected Sturrock to be sacked last night, following another home defeat, this time to Neil Warnock’s Palace. And sure, one win in 15 is sackable form. Maybe he will go. Maybe he will be given Saturday’s game at home to Sheffield Utd to try to pull something out of the fire. I haven’t been since the 2-0 defeat at home to Bristol City – not out of protest, you understand, but because of a couple of cracked ribs making it impossible for me to move, much less cheer. But if I possibly can, I will be there on Saturday, doing my bit for my team.
You see, this isn’t a piece debating the merits or otherwise of a change of manager. It isn’t even a debate on who should take over the reins, should Stapleton decide a change is needed. Nor – unusually – is it a trenchant critique of the financial restrictions under which the manager has had to operate. It’s simply a statement of fact. I’m Argyle till I die. Come what may. Regardless of the quality of the football, regardless of the league we play in, regardless of who is in charge, I’m a Pilgrim and for me, that means turning up. That’s what it means to be a fan. Logic, sense, even sanity don’t come into it. For better or worse, I’m Argyle. And being an Argyle fan has affected everything about who I am: where I choose to live; the work I choose to do; how I bring up my kids; what I spend my money on; everything. This club means something to me. Yes, it lets me down. Yes, it is unbearably painful to watch at the moment, as years of progress and hard work slide down the toilet. But that is football, and that is Argyle. I’ve experienced relegation before: I expect to experience it again. If we go down, it won’t change how I feel about my team; won’t change my desire for going to watch them; won’t change my passion.
Now, some would say that that attitude is deluded. Some might say that there comes a point when it just isn’t worth putting yourself through the misery and frustration, the heartache and the disappointment, just to be let down time and time again. Some might draw clumsy analogies with failing personal relationships, likening Argyle to a partner who repeatedly cheats on you, lets you down and still you stay with them. To all of those, I say, Yes, you’re probably right. But being a football fan is precisely about the pain and the heartache, the disappointment and the sheer blind delusory behaviour of continuing to go, come what may. And to all those now publically announcing they are through with Argyle, I say simply this. Bye then. But when you come back, when times are better and we are actually winning a game or two, remember this. The ecstasy and the delight that you may feel at our success will *always be tarnished for you by the knowledge that when times were hard you packed it in. You can’t, in your heart of hearts, enjoy it as much because you know you aren’t a fan. Just a good time girl with the same loyalty and commitment.
It saddens me, that people who sat through the Hodges years, the Kemp years, the Kelly years are saying that they have *now had enough. Saddens, and mystifies me. If we go down, we go down. But even if we don’t win another game this season, we have still seen worse – far worse – days than this. Why bail now – when our fate is *far from certain, when with a change in fortune we can still pull ourselves out of this? It doesn’t make any sense to me. But then, the number of people with “second teams” has always been a mystery to me too – perhaps the two things are related in some strange way…
Whatever happens over the next 13 games, I will be living and dying every minute of it – in the flesh as much as possible. I’m MORE likely to go to away games I’d previously ruled out for financial reasons than I was before our predicament got so severe. And I will be there in League 1 if that’s where we end up next season. Even if I’m there on my own. Sane or not; reasonable or not; come what may, I’m Argyle till I die. And I’m not doing a runner because of one shitty season.