What type of County fan are you?
In my view, the lower down the football pyramid County fall, the bigger influence we supporters can have, particularly in respect of what happens on the pitch. I think we are even in a position to influence results. Some are speaking openly of every game effectively being a home fixture, i.e. County supporters outnumbering their counterparts at every match.
I have a theory that fans of a football club can be categorised, pigeon-holed if you like. Have a look at these definitions. Which currently fits you?
You have a soft spot for County but they are not your first team. The only way that you will turn up is if your "proper" team aren't playing, you've got nothing better to do, and someone else pays. The things that you say include "I always look out for County's results".
There is another type of sympathiser, one whose life and very well being are affected by County. Usually "hitched" to an Obsessive (see below), they are interested in County's results only because they are affected via the mood of their loved ones or masters. Examples include County widows and dogs owned by County Obsessives.
You do not support County financially in any way, but County are "your team". You may well deny that is the case if challenged though, and prefer to talk of other clubs to hide your embarrassment. You provide moral support however. Possibly an ex-supporter awaiting happier times. You may even be abroad, exiled, making it rather difficult to provide any form of financial support.
You support County financially. Paying to see games as and when you can. You aren't shy in visiting the club shop to make purchases and will happily admit without hesitation that you are a County supporter. Your interest may wane or increase with the fortunes of the club. County are a major part of your recreational activity, but not the be all and end all as you have other interests. You may also watch other clubs regularly, particularly on television.
You will see all home games, most away games and a good number of Development Squad games. You retain your enthusiasm for County and "preach the gospel" to encourage others to attend. You might "work" for County indirectly in some way via a supporters group. Whilst you may have other interests, these are nothing compared to County who are more than capable of making or breaking your weekend. You may have an interest in other football clubs, even popping to see them now and again, but only to be able to compare (unfavourably) with County.
You plan your life around County. Holidays are booked to ensure they never clash with County games. Personal relationships are strained, threatened and even ended if found not to be compatible with County. More often than not you will see every first team game and most Development Squad games. You will see all pre-season games, perhaps even go on the pre-season tour of where-ever (remember those days?). The only time you ever feel even vaguely understood is when you are in the company of other County folk. You name your pets and children after County players or events, e.g. John Chesterfield Monday Night Smith. You have no interest whatsoever in other football clubs.
We probably all know an obsessive. Some of you will even have tried it. Dave Espley once stepped over the line, resulting in his magical book Saturday Night & Thursday Morning, which gives an excellent insight into the world of the Obsessive supporter.
I also stepped into the world of the Obsessive supporter during that famous season. At the time, I was Away Match Travel Organiser (AMTO) for Hyde Branch of the Hatters Independent Supporters Club (HISC). As AMTO, it was my job to ensure that any member of Hyde HISC who wanted to get to an away game could do so, including pre-season.
As a result, I saw every pre-season game, 64 of the 67 games and most home reserve team games. I was arranging work around games, having to explain myself (and failing), and doing whatever it took to get to games.
That season marked me mentally and physically. It is only in hindsight that I realise how far I pushed the tolerance levels of my employer. To quote Damien 3 - The Final Conflict, I was "the moth that flew too close to the flame". I found that I could not play the role of the Obsessive supporter full time. My hat goes off to those of you who do.
It is rare for fans to stay in one category, and they will move up and down the ladder of categories as their circumstances dictate, and probably as County's fortunes dictate. A lot of you will not easily categorise and might find yourselves with one foot on one rung, and one on another.
The Club strives to encourage people up the ladder, to convert Followers into Supporters, Supporters into Enthusiasts etc.
I feel that Help the Hatters also play a positive role in encouraging fans up the ladder. I myself was a Supporter converted into an Enthusiast by HISC.
You might also find it interesting to apply the five categories to fans of Premiership clubs that you encounter. I'll give you even money that you do not know many Obsessives or Enthusiasts, (if any) as defined above.