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No Greater Love

The love and joy one can get from supporting a rubbish football team is hard to surpass

The afternoon of the 6th of May 2018 will be remembered by many in the North West as the time that Manchester City were crowned champions of England by a country mile, whilst playing arguably the best football ever seen from an English team. However, a few miles down the road at a nondescript industrial park in Horwich, 15000 or so Bolton fans were exploding in uninhibited ecstasy and disbelief from clinching survival from the jaws of relegation, and I wouldn’t have changed my seat with our wealthy sky-blue neighbours for all the oil money in the Middle East.

“Jealousy!” you cry. Of course, I feel some jealousy at the brand of football and quality of players the fans of the top teams get to watch every weekend, especially when we compare it to some of the rubbish Bolton can excuse for football. However, when all is said and done when your top team doesn’t win something then only your pride is hurt and the next day you can start to think about how your team will challenge again next season. Not so when your team flirts with disaster as our beloved Trotters have done over the last five years.

If Bolton had gone down yesterday we would have been sat here wondering, once again, would we have a team to support next season. Uncle Ken said he had a plan, though as I only half-jokingly quipped to a friend, “is the plan go into administration and run away with the Madine money?” Supporting Bolton is the football equivalent of your death sports, people don’t fight bears to be good at it, it’s the thrill of staring death in the face and then cheating it. Bolton cheated death yesterday in a manner befitting a rugged action hero, at 2-1 down Bolton were at gunpoint surrounded by 10 bad guys, then with a smirk to the camera and some physics defying karate moves, Bolton emerged unscathed and smirking at the camera.

I accept that Manchester City’s “Agueroooooo!” moment must have been mind bendingly spectacular, up there with Manchester United’s treble winning Champions League night. However, for a Manchester City fan who was at both the 2012 Premiership triumph and the famous 1999 play-off turnaround against Gillingham, I wonder which they truly preferred in their heart of hearts.

For when you are down you are lonely, the journalists and internet commentators swirl to put the boot in with comments how you deserve it due to being so badly run, like somehow as a fan you should be poring over the accounts every week to ensure your club is being run in a proper and fit way. Hence, moments like yesterday taste all that sweeter as, for a moment, they wash away all the bitterness and frustration and you learn to love a 38-year-old journey man striker you have insulted all season long.

As I take it in the morning after, reality is setting in. The club needs investment to survive another year, Parky cannot pull another miracle out of the hat with a club put together on whoever he finds at the scrapyard. Perhaps even Parky isn’t the man to take us forward. I’m sure this will be discussed at length over the summer. For now, Bolton fans, savour a fine day and be thankful you support a rubbish football team.