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georgeweahscousin

Growing up and discovering Saints

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This will be of interest to some and I'm sure not others...

 

A couple of years ago, I started making ‘notes’ on my life as a football supporter, in particularly my time following Saints. It was soon formed into chapters that could make a book, though I was never sure that anyone but me would be interested to read it.

 

I tentatively sent it to a couple of publishers and actually got some interest, though as writing is not my job I couldn’t commit to any time-scales or deadlines that would need to be met.

 

I toyed with the idea of self publishing, but again the nagging doubt crept in that actually, this is only a story that is relevant to me, my friends and family and perhaps those of a similar age who support Saints. It also dawned on me that I write my blog because I love talking about Saints. They are my passion and in no way do I feel any need to try and profit from that, I’ve had countless offers from bigger websites and organisations to take the site under their wing and make it into a money making venture, but it has never felt right and therefore I have kept it as it is, losing me money on a yearly basis (It’s a good year since I was sued by a photographer though, so fingers crossed!).

 

I have decided to take the same approach with this ‘book’ and publish the first chapter on there. If it get’s any interest then I will publish the rest as and when I see fit.

 

If you are a mid-thirties Saints fan who grew up in the eighties surrounded by people who support teams they have no emotional connection to, can appreciate the despair of watching text updates of a League One game at 4 AM in a Chinese hotel room or trying to get a signal to watch Manchester United v Aston Villa during an Iraqi insurgent rocket strike you might get something out of it….

 

http://georgeweahscousin.com/life-saint-easy-a-journey-through-football-joy-despair/

 

Let me know what you think. You can be brutally honest if you think it's crap. Ta.

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A salt of the earth story. Don't let anybody tell you football people won't empathise and want to read it.

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I think it's really good mate.

 

I'm the same as Pete - grew up in Gosport and then went to secondary school in Portsmouth so I too know the feeling of being the (very) odd one out!

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Fantastic read.

 

I grew up with English football on the telly. Every Saturday afternoon they (we only had the one channel) would broadcast one of the games from the 1.division and later The Premier League. At the same time the scores from 12 other games on that weeks bets on 13 games would appear with a "dong" on the top of the screen...and people followed this more faithfully than going to church. It also meant that almost every club in England got a mention in the papers as people were planning their bets, counting their wins and losses as well as growing into a supporter of a particular team.

 

In the 80'ies it was all Liverpool, Nottingham Forrest, Tottenham and Manchester United. They kept going in the 90'ies along with Arsenal and whoever was having a good season. As more and more Danish and Scandinavian players came into the leauge (Jesper Olsen and Peter Schmeichel ensured loads of Danish Manchester United supporters from afar).

 

I started supporting Saints in ´96. I also have the enternal love for the underdog. Matt LeTissier was that underdog in football for me. Extremely brilliant and talented and despite all his talents he kept playing for this one team, never winning anything apart from a loyal fanbase. Danish media picked up on this when Ekelund came to the club. Every now and then I would hear other supporters saying "that f*cking LeTissier again!".. and it always made me smile.

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Good read a lot of it resonates with me too!

 

Yeah, it resonates with me as well, especially as I also grew up in an Isle of Wight village, albeit a few decades before the OP.

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Awwwwww it stopped and left me hanging!! ;)

 

I can relate to the story so far, when I was 4 1/2 we moved from Southampton to Silchester in North Hampshire it felt like miles away from civilisation Leeds Utd were in their pomp when Football appeared in my life, everything stopped in our house for the FA Cup final but my Mum and Dad were not Football fanatics. All the kids at school were Leeds fans, like with you it was the sheep effect at Primary school, I even got a Leeds kit complete with number 4 on the back one Christmas, all of a sudden all my school mates were following Derby and QPR as they hit an upwards curve. The confusion was tangible.

Not sure exactly when the turning point was but probably the 7 goal smashing by Leeds triggered the thought of hang on the City of my birth has a team, the cup run cemented my following and the win put a big exclaimation mark on it especially as I was staying with my Grandparents in Southampton in the week of the run up to the final.

My first game was in similar circumstances at secondary school when I uncovered a little cell of Saints fans all older than me who said why don't you come with us on the shopping bus to Southampton and watch a game it's only 50p! That was it Notts County 3-1 my hero from the Echos my Gran saved for me Phil Boyer scored a brace........... Never looked back since.

 

Keep going Mush!!

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A very good read Chris. I enjoy your blogs too. I know the Isle of Wight very well, went to school there in the early to mid 60s and go there annually on business, so I understand where you're coming from. And the carpet warehouse is still there on the Carisbrooke Ind Est, isn't it?

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I was interested in the IoW demographic split. For someone who grew up in Archers Rd and whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents were all fans my passage was so much easier and natural than yours. That does not make me any more of a fan though and you do describe your awakening well. I suspect there is a large percentage of Saints fans who like you came to support the Saints via an obscure or tortuous route. Well done, I will look forward to reading the rest.

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I was interested in the IoW demographic split. For someone who grew up in Archers Rd and whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents were all fans my passage was so much easier and natural than yours. That does not make me any more of a fan though and you do describe your awakening well. I suspect there is a large percentage of Saints fans who like you came to support the Saints via an obscure or tortuous route. Well done, I will look forward to reading the rest.

 

Praise indeed, praise indeed.

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Very enjoyable read and I certainly identify with the "obscure or tortuous route" to supporting Saints having grown up in a small village near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire where people tended to support the London teams, Man Ure and Luton. My mum had always been a Saints fan and several family members lived in and around Southampton. At age 15 I got very excited as a family moved in nearby who were Saints supporters. Unfortunately the 2 sons were having a flirtation with Man Ure at the time but, in the words of John Cleese in Holy Grail when he claimed he had been turned into a newt they "got better". We now travel all over the country together following Saints.

 

I now live near Horley (near Gatwick). The other day I noticed that someone had added a halo to the stickman pavement sign on the Balcombe Road. Anything to do with you, Horley CTFC Saint??!

 

Looking forward to the next chapter

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Brings back memories. I lived in Ryde for 10 years after we got married and, working at BHC, I'd agree that most Cowes and Newport were Saints and I was in a minority at Ryde where they supported the Blue Few.

 

Evening games at The Dell meant a rush to get back to Red Funnel before the last ferry or hydrofoil, although they were usually pretty good at holding one back if a game went to extra time. I had the safety net of parents in Romsey so I could always get a bed for the night if I missed it.

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I think you could be on to something with this book. I think it will be popular because football books don't really have to be well written they just have to be about football and say something that football fans recognise. So I wouldn't worry about the 'style' of your writing, it suits football books which means football fans will read it anyway.

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I really enjoyed it, and chuckled inside at you cheering the Wimbledon goal. Can definitely relate to your story.

 

Edit: as for your writing style, it's fine and natural. It's normal for me to take a little while to get into a writer's style at first. Even the best ones. The content is strong enough to be worth the effort for anyone to carry on until they get into your style IMO.

Edited by Ohio Saint

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Cracking read and I would urge you to keep going (enjoy your blog too by the way).

 

I was born in Southampton, that is my only connection to the team. My Dad was working in Christchurch and Soton was the easier hospital to get to...otherwise I would have been born in Bournemouth and my football depression would be much much worse!

 

Actually I really should have been a Liverpool supporter, my Grandad, Great Grandad and most of the the family were from the city - but like yourself it never felt right. In the early days it was a case of standing out from the crowd, being a bit different but as the years went on and we kept on grinding out the great escapes it felt good to be a Saints fan. The really turning point for me though was actually when we got relegated. I had always gone to games, although not as many as I would have liked, I had been an avid fan - but the connection was still tenious. But as it became easier to go and watch the team, even when it was just dreadful and painful, the more and more I fell in love with them.

 

I know many will echo this, but the first three years of the ML era were probably my favourite. Taking 3,000 to teams like Bristol Rovers, Walsall and Leyton Orient. Having to watch the Exeter game from their home end because so many saints fans travelled without away tickets. The joy of watching your team win and when they were expected to. I always thought the best times were after we beat one of the big boys in the Premier League, this hasn't changed - I could gloat for at least half a season...but honestly (even though we lost on the night), the best and loudest I have ever been was when Chaplow banged in the opener against Utd. I was watching from a pub in Gloucester and you could have heard me in the Northam!!

 

As I said I followed Saints from a young age, 6 or 7 when I got my first shirt - - but it was the combination of the pain of relegation and the joys of a cold Tuesday in Walsall that made a supporter!

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Great read and very well written.

We all find our way to supporting "our Club" whoever it is by different means - I was a rugby playing fanatic who grew up in Norfolk surrounded by NCFC supporters, and although I went to Carrow Road often I never felt any pull to support them - In fact I supported no football club. I moved to Hampshire in the early 90's and a new work mate had season tickets to The Dell and took me along a few times - MLT was in his pomp and that tight ground generated such an atmosphere and I was hooked for life.

 

Keep writing my friend - Its a true life story.

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Only ever supported the one team. No experimentation or flirtation with other clubs when I was a nipper. No uncertainty and no wavering since. I will confess to having the scarf of another club, but they are in Ligue 1 and I used to go there to get my footie fix when living over there.

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Yep, it's good - honest and can be related to. I've read your blog a few times, but not been that interested (sorry) - this seems a lot more engaging. I was 'anyone but Saints' until I was about 10 as a rebellion against my dad, but came round in the end.

 

Me and my brother had an LP of the 77 final between ManU and Liverpool (can you believe it!) and we used to listen to it together - him ManU, me Liverpool. Now we're both solid Saints, as are our kids! I also had a Leeds top, as I was Tony Currie because of that goal vs Saints. I still am. In my head.

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I haven't read it, yet, but you should be able to self-publish via Kindle, etc anyway.

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I was interested in the IoW demographic split. For someone who grew up in Archers Rd and whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents were all fans my passage was so much easier and natural than yours. That does not make me any more of a fan though and you do describe your awakening well. I suspect there is a large percentage of Saints fans who like you came to support the Saints via an obscure or tortuous route. Well done, I will look forward to reading the rest.

 

Thanks a lot, means a lot coming from you!

 

If you meet any Pompey fans of course they will tell you that the Island is primarily Pompey. Another one of their myths. It's pretty even, edging in Saints favour in my experience! Though Pompey as a club certainly have a better relationship with the grass roots, hence why most decent Island players end up at Fratton. Recently though Bournemouth have made inroads, even having a Cherries side in the Island league!

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Enjoyed that and would like to read more.

 

My journey to supporting Saints was via Everton. A neighbour supported them and got me and my brother a mug and shirt each. Both our parents supported saints but as they tell us now, they didn't want to force it on us as we'd end up hating it. In the end we both came around in about 1993ish. My turning point was going to the Dell with my dad and watching Saints v Everton from the lower west. My dad knew exactly what he was doing!

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Oh my aching bones! You make me feel so old...perhaps I should take a tartan rug to the game today to cover my legs. :lol:

 

Thanks for the latest episode and your first unsupervised brush with the evil flesh-pots of mainland Hampshire...I enjoyed it. :)

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Slightly tangential but also relevant.

Is anybody able to offer an explanation of why a considerable number of Saints fans come from Poole?

When I was a kid my dad and I stood and got friendly with a group who travelled to The Dell for every home game from Poole.

They said they would never support Bournemouth and since those days of the late 60s and early 70s I have encountered lots of Saints fans from Poole.

One theory is that it is a reaction from people in Poole who want to retain an identity in the conurbation and their way of doing that is to reject Bournemouth.

Incidentally, the guys from Poole we got pally with worked in the pottery and brought something up every game. I have now inherited a sizeable collection of classic 60/7th Poole Pottery items, including a full dinner service set worth a few bob.

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Very interesting read and well written

I was born outside of Southampton with relatives who supported big city clubs.

However my Dad was a keen Saints fans and we ended up living in Milton Rd for a while

My Dad used to take me to sit on his knee in the East Stand

This was a bit of a disaster at first as I used to get upset when the Albion Band finished and he had to take me home thereby missing the early part of the game

I can vaguely remember queues stretching up past our house for the big all ticket games

I soon became an avid Saints fan installed in the lower Chocolate Box in my youth and early adult stage

Interestingly the first football shirt I ever had (probably as a 8-10 year old) was an Arsenal type kit which was the only red and white style shirt available at Toomers

A few years later I got hold of a white tee shirt with red trimmings which had a Saint and Halo on the front.

When I reflect back, Saints have moved from being a modest club in a modest ground to a team with an enviable reputation throughout Europe

Who would have thought it.

Just a shame my Dad isn't around to see the progress made.

Poor quality but worn with pride until it fell apart!!

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