Stockport County – why support them and not the other two?
Given that arguably the most famous football club in the world is around 7 miles due West of Stockport and currently the planets richest funded club a similar distance to the north west, the independent arbiter may well scratch his or head wondering why some of the inhabitants of Stockport and its surrounding area would bother to support a perennially underachieving lower league (I wish) none league football team. A team that has never played at the highest level and is the antithesis of its plutocrat American owned cousins at Old Trafford and at the flag ship airline of
stadium. Well a good starting point would be is that I actually reside in Abu Dhabi Stockport. I know that in this day and age of franchise and global economics that is less relevant then it was perhaps even 25 years ago. Stockport is hardly the prettiest or most endearing town in the universe but for me aside from the first three and half years of my life it has been home. Just to then blow that argument out of the water the reason I never faintly felt any sort attachment to either club was initially due to Liverpool FC and more pertinently the 1965 FA Cup final. At the tender age of 8 it was the first televised game I can remember watching – proper cup final in those days, black and white TV, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, 100,000 gate. I became a Manchester Liverpool fan. In horror my step-father who had no particular affiliation to any club arranged for me to visit my first ground – Old Trafford later that year. 63,000 people, Law, Charlton etc, it left me totally under whelmed, don’t know why it just did. As my adulation for St John, Hunt and Callaghan grew, desperation drove my step father to take me to a Friday night game at EP circa late 1965 and that was it, whether it was the flood lights, the tight ground, the smell of hot dogs/onions, rich tobacco I don’t know but I was hooked, an addiction I am still hooked on nearly 50 years later. This addiction has made me carefully schedule holidays, social events and even turn down career opportunities that would have meant leaving the borough. My 1st Wedding anniversary nearly 29 years ago was marked with a friendly at EP against . Mrs C was overjoyed, even more so as the half time announcer wished us all the best and mis-pronounced her name: Brenda Caville is now known as ‘Belinda Caravelle’ Coventry City
I have been lucky enough to do a fair bit of travelling across the globe over the past 18 years or so. One thing that all County fans will be only all too familiar with is the scenario where you meet the: waiter/car park attendant/gardener/foreign tourist etc and they ask you where you are from. ‘Stockport’ generally provokes a blank look, almost inevitably you say ‘”just near Manchester” even more inevitably (you know what’s coming) they respond: “Manchester United, Bobby Charlton, George Best, Nobby Stiles” I used to indulge them but nowadays I pretend to have never heard of them. This frustrates the hell out of them: “ no, sorry, are they a basketball team” they enquire “
” a shake of the head “tiddlywinks ?” You can only really get away with this if the respondent speaks English as a second language. I once denied any knowledge whatsoever of the existence of Manchester United to an 18 stone safari guide in Manchester City some years ago. He declared that they were his favourite team in the whole world and threatened to eject me from the land rover and make me walk back to the lodge via the lions and leopards. Thankfully there is always an exception to the rule. In 2008 whilst visiting the botanical gardens in Zimbabwe Mauritius I got chatting with a gardener who knew all about , knew that Jim Gannon (at that time) was our manager and that we were having a good season. Just as uplifting, some years ago I was driving from Stockport County Perth in Western Australia a few hundred miles south to when we stopped for a break in a small town called Busselton. Mrs C went to find a loo and I went for a stroll whilst wearing the then phsychedelic yellow and blue away shirt. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when an exceedingly good looking young lady sauntered down the high street in my direction wearing the exact same replica shirt. We hugged like long lost friends – thankfully before Mrs C emerged from the loo and went our separate ways. Margaret River
So there you are, just some reasons why I follow SCFC, imagine the terminal boredom of winning Premier League’s, FA Cup’s, European Champions League year after year. Not for me – then again ??
Bye for now