By John Baron
“Football without fans is nothing.” It’s a phrase coined by football legends Jock Stein and Matt Busby – and yesterday showed it’s still true of football at all levels.
A merry band of 16 Farsley Celtic fans had an early start as they clambered on board their minibus for their four-and-a-half-hour trip down to Gloucester City, who are, apparently, in the National League ‘North’ for some bizarre reason.
It was a good day out, apart from the 90 minutes that mattered. A 5-1 hammering ensued, with even the manager lamenting a second-half capitulation which saw the visitors from West Leeds ship four goals with barely a whimper.
As one long-suffering Farsley fan put it: “Some people say it’s all about the result but us Farsley fans already know the result. You might as well get used to it, have a few pints and enjoy your day out.”
As is often the case at non league grounds, you get a warm welcome right from the very off.
The chair of the Gloucester City Supporters Trust came over for a natter, a local chap whose grandma lived many years ago in New Farnley swapped stories and said he hoped to come up North for a visit some time. Another told us the history of the old ground and showed us the remains of the former terrace. Punters were even called ‘sir’ as they bought their meat pies! It was so polite and friendly.
The Gloucester keeper (who pulled of a world-class save at 2-1) asked how long it would take to get back and wished everyone a safe journey home.
In a sport where top flight football can sometimes resemble a Nuremberg rally, it was a lovely experience. Even in the clubhouse after the game there was a good craic between the two set of supporters and brilliant songs (including ‘we’re so **** it’s unbelievable’ and a memorable duet with Gloucester fans of ‘we’re going up, we’re going down’).
The winners today were the fans who made the long journey to come away with sore throats from singing and cheering on the players, many of who came over to thank the supporters at the end, some even shook hands with fans.
I suppose, dear reader, you came here for a match report? It doesn’t seem relevant from a Farsley perspective, but for the record they lost 5-1 in front of a crowd of 989.
Farsley took an early lead through a top strike from Frank Mulhern. But the home side equalised on the quarter-hour mark through Dom McHale, before securing further second half goals from Matt McClure (two), Kieran Phillips and Tre Mitford for a deserved win.
The minibus arrived back in Farsley at half nine last night – 12-and-half hours after setting off. If this season does, as seems likely, turn into a relegation party, the die hards of the Celt Army will still be here having fun, a loyal group of friends and a great set of people.
Roll on Tuesday at home to Kettering and next Saturday at Chorley, with the minibus already fully booked. Up The Celts!
Farsley Celtic boss Russ Wilcox was ‘massively disappointed’ with the result, particularly the second half performance:
Farsley Celtic will be hoping to secure their first home win since April against fellow strugglers Kettering on Tuesday (7.45pm). Tickets can be bought here.