First published in Play for the Sons souvenir programme, 04 June 2011, Dumbarton Supporters Home -v- Dumbarton Supporters Away
Given the other commitments players have – not least to their families after a busy season – I reckon it’s fairly unlikely that retained, past or new members of the Dumbarton squad will be in the stand this afternoon to pass polite judgement on their supporters… but a few of them (the less squeamish) might have been rather tempted to turn up!
After all, they are the ones who have to put up with the ‘helpful advice’ and ‘vociferous encouragement’ that we hurl at them week in and week out. So now, for some of us at least, it’s the time of reckoning. You’re about to witness exactly how well the fonts of supporter wisdom at the Rock can do when they step on to the pitch for a full 90 minutes.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starting to brick it… and I still have five-and-a-half days of training left before the Big Occasion as I pen this. When the Play for the Sons initiative was announced, it was, for me and for several others, a “no-brainer”. Did we want to cough up some cash for the Trust and in the process don the real strip of our beloved Sons before being captured on film and in eternal memory on the SHS pitch? Er… that would be a definite “yes!”
Of course not everyone was so brave, reckless and foolhardy. Some of the players you’ll watch this afternoon play the game on an occasional or regular basis. A few of them turn out for the real Supporters XI… and quite a lot more mysteriously discovered that they had “something else on” or were “too old” to take part. They shall remain unnamed here. But we, the foolish, know who they are!
I don’t fit into either category, incidentally. I wasn’t sensible enough to claim (rightfully, I suspect) that my 53-year-old limbs and failing eyesight aren’t really up to the job. But that’s OK. I’m sure you’ll figure that out for yourself. Nor have I played anything like regular footie of late. Actually, I haven’t stepped onto a full size pitch for 38 years. And I suspect that one was rather diddy by comparison. “Simon, this may not go so well”, my inner adult is telling be. Oh well, too late now.
Of course quite a few of today’s line-ups will be taking this darned seriously. Well, we all will in a way. Football fans never remain jocular within scent of a competitive football game. But others will have to make light of their own failings, perhaps.
A good friend dropped me a note about this game the other week. “Out of interest”, he asked, affecting a deceptive lack of mockery, “what position will you be playing in?” Then he added, helpfully: “By the way, before you answer that, can I just point out that ‘rubbish’ isn’t a position?”
“What options does that leave me?” I responded. “That’s easy,” quoth he. “Just tell them you’ll be the decoy!” I think you may be about to find out he’s right.
Meanwhile, to all involved in this match, and in its preparation, I’m sure you will join me in sending thanks. Good luck to both teams. May mine win. And remember, should you be tempted to kick me or shout too many insults… I’m married to a lawyer!
The author is no relation to the numpty on the pitch who bears a striking resemblance to him.