Saturday, 29 January 2011

It's time to take a stand

First published in Sons View, 29 January 2011, Dumbarton -v- Brechin City

By the time you read this, my training regime for the ‘Play for the Sons’ supporters match at Strathclyde Homes Stadium on 4 June should have started in earnest, leading to the daunting sight of a man in a distinctive gold and black shirt hurtling around the Leith Links in Edinburgh at breakneck speed. I wish. 

Yes, I know, the game is still over four months away. But when you’re about to reach the ripe old age of 53, haven’t touched a football in anger for many a year, and count “popping out to the shops” and “going to the recycling point” as the highlights on your regular exercise calendar – well, something has to give, and I don’t plan on it being my legs after 15 minutes on the hallowed turf!

My wife is fully supportive, of course. In her own unique way. When I mentioned that the afternoon match on 4 June will be followed by an evening of stand up comedy, she wrinkled an eyebrow and wittily observed: “Hmmn… It might take a rather discerning person to be able to tell the difference between the two events.” Thanks a lot, dear.

But despite the advance mockery, I remain undeterred. The chance to wear Dumbarton’s colours for a full 90 minutes at the Rock will be a special occasion for all of us taking part. Achieving a goal or sweetly struck assist would make it even more notable, naturally… though personally my main aim will be to avoid making a complete ass of myself. Or ending up in casualty.

The purpose of the ‘Play for the Sons / Stand up for the Sons’ Day is not just to show our sporting endeavour and to have a laugh (hopefully in that order), but also to raise funds and publicity for the Sonstrust. That’s especially important at the moment, because the Trust movement, organised through Supporters Direct, has a major task on its hands in getting those currently taking decisions about the future of the game in Scotland to take notice of what we, the fans, want. For that reason, joining or getting involved with Sonstrust is the key way that Dumbarton fans have to voice their opinions.

That’s also why we’re having a drive to increase membership well beyond the already impressive, record level of 313. If you haven’t signed on the dotted line or given us a tenner yet, please do. See Tommy Hughes or come to the Sonstrust table in the community suite. The larger the Trust, the more influence it has, both within the Club and as part of the wider debate about the proposals about the game coming from Henry McLeish and the SPL.

Alternatively, why not persuade a friend or family member to join the Trust?  It’s time  to stand up for the game we love – especially when a disproportionate amount of pressure is already coming from those whose main interest seems to be money rather than sport. For supporters, it’s the other way round. And rightly so.

Meanwhile, ‘pressure’ is a word we’re all too familiar with in an on-the-field sense at Dumbarton right now – as the matches start to arrive thick and fast, and the need to add goals and points to our meagre tally becomes ever more urgent.

The 4-1 victory against Alloa Athletic ten days ago was a huge boost, of course. We have a very young side, full of promise, which this season has often looked anxious in defence and uncertain at key moments up front. But that game against the Wasps proved that once things start to go our way and confidence builds among the players, some fine, flowing football is possible. The finishes were really classy, too.

Even leaving this week’s clash with Forfar aside, the fact that Sons also played well and won the Stirlingshire Cup against Falkirk on 16 November (as well as triumphing in midweek encounters with Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire in the same competition) might lead you to suspect that we are a “Tuesday night” team.  But Saturday remains the main staple, and a good performance and result against the Brechin City today would set us up well for the remaining half of the season.

Yes, that’s right, even though we remain at the foot of the table as things stand, there’s still all to cheer and play for through to 7 May. Together, we can do it.

No comments: