0 Accosted in Tesco's!

FootballFans"After a 0-0 opening draw in our first pre-season friendly, the general consensus was we were short of a strike force but, after winning our first league game of the season, we were promotion contenders"


Well, the football season is back in full swing and, with it, all the melodramatic capers and shenanigans that accompany it are in full flow.

No sooner does the season start and the managerial merry-go-round cranks into gear; a situation not helped by supporters expectations of their team's capabilities.

I like to check the supporters' message boards of the club that employ me to see what the mood of the supporters is. I will admit these places do tend to be a bit 'extreme'. After a 0-0 opening draw in our first pre-season friendly, the general consensus was we were short of a strike force but, after winning our first league game of the season, we were promotion contenders.

Living and working in an average sized English town and working for its football club, I do tend to get spotted by fans of the club when out and about around the town. They are always asking for any inside information, the most common request being new signings during the close season, as if I know all the manager's targets!

My wife has zero interest in football and I am one of those who leave my work at work. I don't sit in front of the TV watching every live game of football; in fact I don't watch any at all. I see enough training sessions, 1st team, reserve team and youth team games to keep me going.

A few years ago, with the team having a terrible run of results, I went down to our local Tesco's one Sunday morning with my wife to do some shopping. The day before, the team had extended their winless streak to eleven games and were firmly in the bottom four of the league. No sooner had we entered the store than I was confronted by a supporter with "what the hell is going on down at .......?" I engaged him in polite conversation for a while and listened to his rant. My wife left me to it, continuing with the shopping.

I caught up with her later, only to be accosted by another unhappy fan; "what's happened to them this season?" Once again I stood and heard him out as my wife continued with the shopping. We were joined by another fan who had gone to the previous day's game, and who told me had "wasted £60 for his efforts!"
It is hard to ignore supporters, and you can imagine their words if you did; "Well, that groundsman is just as bad!", so I do tend to be a soft touch and be attentive to their concerns or praise. I managed to finally escape these two and saw my wife going through the checkout, so I hastened up the freezer aisle, only to see someone in our club's replica shirt coming towards me. I did a quick u-turn and used the detergent aisle instead to catch my wife up. I arrived at the checkout just in time to give her a hand with packing the last half a dozen items, along with a look from her that could kill from fifty yards. We had been in the store close on two hours due totally to me "chatting".

As I mentioned further up the page, Mrs Grasscutter is not a football person, but this does not stop her work colleagues, who follow the team and know she is married to me, asking her what's going on at the club. She always use to say she had no idea but, lately, has started winding them up with such lines as; "Well, I know who's signing next week, but am sworn to secrecy".

Sometimes, mainly on the club's Open Day, supporters do ask questions about groundsmanship and do seem genuinely interested in the work we do - they are usually surprised that it's more than just cutting the grass.

Players, managers, coaches and even chairmen come and go at football clubs, but the one constant is the supporters. At the end of the day they pay my wages and, for that alone, they deserve some respect and time.

Keep the faith; and keep cutting the grass, after all that's all you do.

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