Updated: Oct 5
Many people support a football club because it adds to their sense of belonging to a particular city, region, country or community. At least as many support successful big city clubs where reflected glory may be the attraction. Others, perhaps of a more perverse outlook, cannot avoid supporting the underdog. My trail of club connections over the years indicates I am undeniably in the latter category. I have no connection with the town of Workington in West Cumbria, other than it was a place I visited a couple of times in the early 1990s due to my work. It immediately ticked a number of boxes for me: a poor town in a too often-neglected part of England, an association football club in a rugby league heartland, a remote small-town football club which had somehow achieved Football League status and retained it for twenty-six remarkable years. An atmospheric ground which is regularly voted one of Britain’s favourites, even to this day. Yesterday I decided to sever all connections with the club. I have contemplated this disengagement before, but I’ve always been drawn back to the Reds. There are usually two reasons for considering moving on. Either I have concluded I am unlikely to ever re-visit Borough Park, (so what's the point?), or I have been frustrated by the club’s apparently unfocused fund-raising efforts. The latter finally prevailed yesterday. I reversed a decision to attend Workington’s deferred centenary dinner, now being held next month and asked for my name to be deleted from the club’s list of shareholders. Today I will begin the task of disposing of a thirty-year collection of Workington memorabilia.
There are lots of small clubs that I am minded to support, not least the fantastically well-run phoenix club Bury AFC, or any one of a dozen of Scotland’s smaller SPFL clubs. The seemingly unstoppable march of the super-clubs means British football has no shortage of struggling underdogs for me to take an interest in. Sadly, Workington will no longer be one of them.