Boston with Pride by Man in a Hat !

2 stop-over County trips in the same Month - this is the life! Boston here I come! And I’m going to be helping Jon on Pure FM again.

Proud to be County

I’ve made plenty of mistakes during my life, but deciding to follow County when I moved into the area isn’t one of them.

Editors Timely Intervention; No hat...a definite mistake!

1 minute I’m getting taken to my first game. A quarter of a century, a couple of tattoos & 4 top hats later, I’m trying to find somewhere to stay in Lowestoft in March. What happened?

Well it’s your fault, you County Supporters.

County Supporters all have something in common. The well-heeled, the less fortunate, the old, the young & everyone in-between.

You all decided that following some soulless corporate brand masquerading as a football club wasn’t for you.

Despite being bullied into conforming, & following a big team being far easier & a lot less stressful, you wanted something different, something more intense than mere recreational entertainment.

You wanted to be part of something special, something meaningful.

When you talk about County, you use the word “we”, because it is about “we”.

Whenever I hear the fan of a big club use the word “we”, I sometimes say “what makes you say we?” “What’s the difference between watching that & watching Coronation Street?” “What makes you think you’re anything other than a source of income?” “Are you saying you’re part of a trademark?”

“You should be saying them, not we!”

I recently saw a hilarious piece on Sky Sports News in a pub (moi?) featuring the CEO of the Premiership bemoaning the recent demise of one of the big clubs (I think they hadn’t qualified for Europe or something?) being bad for the Premiership brand. Well, boo hoo!

Anyway, back to us, the unbrandable County.

Travelling with County

It’s no coincidence that when County have been most successful, you couldn’t see the join between the Club & the Supporters.

Players regularly attended Supporter events. There was a genuine bond. An “us against the world” mentality. This led to County having an away record that was the envy of many a global, characterless, money-making device.

When you look at County’s recent away form, you realise that there is often a disconnect between the effort Supporters put in to getting to away games & the effort they witness on the pitch upon arrival.

If player-attended events could once more become the norm, I’m convinced that it would help players “get it” & assist them in recreating the away form of their fore-bears, i.e. the performances Supporters deserve.

In fact, let’s go further. Imagine if players had experienced travelling to an away game with the late Lee Bennett. Surely, directly witnessing the efforts that Lee had to put in to get to an away game, would inspire them?

The County Family

Attending an event like the funeral & wake of Lee Bennett, you can’t help but be taken aback by the sheer diversity of the Blue Army.

By the way, I doubt that anyone participating in singing Arthur Brownlow at Lee’s wake will forget that in a hurry.

Blue Army? No. That suggests discipline, organisation & a common purpose.

The County Family would be a better description. Sometimes family members aren’t very nice to each other, & can even be down-right cruel. But there is always an underlying mutual love, a fundamental unity.

When you follow County away from home, this is felt far more keenly of course, because it takes real effort & sacrifice to get to some of these games.

Absence from work has to be booked, other commitments have to be reorganised, relationships have to be managed. Financial sacrifices have to be made, transport & accommodation has to be arranged.

At Lee’s wake, someone commented to me that all of the best stories relate to away games. But I think that ALL County stories seem to involve travelling away from EP.

Firm friendships have been forged through following County. Many Supporters regularly socialise with people they first met through following County, without there even being a game to attend.

I am no different & I’m proud to be considered as one of the County Family, albeit I probably see myself more as an adopted son.

Anyway, I’m rambling again, so what’s the plan.

Boston - at last, the plan

For reasons that I won’t go into here, I probably won’t arrive in Boston until about 8pm Friday, so what with that & being the summariser on Pure FM again, I’ll barely have the chance for a beer.

However, I will be in the area until mid-afternoon Sunday, so you never know, I may squeeze some touristy things like the Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial, Hussey Tower, the Stump & perhaps even the Maud Foster Windmill.

Mandatory real ale sampling must be undertaken at the Eagle, the Golden Lion & the Indian Queen & Three Kings (one pub that is, what’s the story there?).

I’m also staying at a real ale pub, the Kings Arms, so if you’re familiar with my historical adventures, e.g. Telford, Hednesford etc., you know that is a recipe for disaster.

Other real ale options include the Moon Under the Water (the local Wetherspoons), Ropers Arms, Coach & Horses, Robin Hood, Ship Tavern, Waterfront, Goodbarns Yard, Carpenters Arms, Duke of York & the Britannia.

So, if you want to discover whether I survive another stop-over County trip, don’t forget to read my blog, when I’ll try to answer the questions like who was Maud Foster & why did she need such a big drain?

I’m also going to naughty on Pure FM again, so if you’re tuning in, see how long it takes you to identify my “list”. All I’ll say is, it won’t be styles of hat this time.

As you know, you can find all of the pubs I try on the excellent CAMRA website

Remember, I’ll be wearing my Top Hat & trying to get as many photos of the Blue Army County Family on the march, so don’t let me down.

See you there!

Man in a Hat.


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