For many years a football club called Stockport County bounced around the lower regions of the Football League, supported largely by middle-aged men in flat caps who smoked Woodbines in the rain and complained volubly and incessantly. Every so often the club would finish bottom of the League but thanks to a corrupt system of mutual back scratching they would be re-elected for the following season. At the end of the following season County would repay the favour by voting for the re-election of another club which had voted for them the previous season. Over many decades this scam became elevated to the legend that County had maintained their League status for a century purely on their own merits. The uncomfortable truth is that County would have dropped to non-League decades previously if automatic relegation from the Football League had been in place at the time.
For a very short period around the turn of the 21st Century the stars and planets were in alignment and a manager and group of players emerged who took County to previously undreamed-of heights. The likes of Blackburn, West Ham, Palace, Leeds, Birmingham, City et al were put to the sword and County climbed the pyramid. The problem was that the laws of economics made it inevitable that such success could only be temporary. County punched way above their weight for a few short, heart-warming and glorious seasons before football gravity pulled them back down again. Unfortunately the result of this was that the spoiled offspring of the Woodbine-smoking, incessantly complaining men in flat caps erroneously assumed that County being up there amongst the best in the country was the norm. It wasn't - it was a magical anomaly - an anomaly to be relished and treasured, but an anomaly none the less.
To those who yearn for some billionaire to rock up on Hardcastle Road with sacks of money to launder (sorry, invest) I would ask how this would make us any different from Salford Amateurs, Kirkham & Wesham or Forest Green, whom we affect to despise?
To those who insist that such-a-body should cancel their debt I would say, "Lend me fifty grand". I won't pay you back and will call you a scoundrel and a blackguard should you dare to even ask for it back. It's called welshing and if it was your money you'd take a very different standpoint.
In my old-fashioned view if you support a club you turn out whether they're playing Winsford at EP on a freezing week night in the Cheshire Senior Cup or Barcelona at the San Siro in the final of the Champions League. Supporting a club also entails accepting the possibility that after ninety minutes you might lose. Whether losing is a result of the incompetence of the players, bad decisions by the manager, plain bad luck or parsimony by the board or owners isn't really the issue. If you can't or won't accept the result, you have a choice to continue your support or to transfer your allegiance to some moneybags Johnny Come Lately outfit which more closely reflects your desire for instant and constant success. There are a number of equally unattractive local options. The true measure of a supporter is how they handle adversity, not how raucously or frequently they celebrate victory.
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