Supporting your football team is like being married. Some days are great, others just average and there’s those that make you want to scream. When it all finally goes pear-shaped you’re left with an empty, couldn’t really care less kind of feeling. Which is where a lot of people are up to with Rovers right now.
I still remember coming back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 at home to Plymouth back in 1974/75 with an unhealthy level of fondness. Howard Kendall leading us to promotion in 1980, David Speedie’s hat-trick at Plymouth to send us into the play-offs & the promised land of the Premier League in 1992 and Alan Shearer inspiring us to that wonderful title in 1995. Rovers were important back then – the pinnacle of my week. Losing games hurt to such an extent I’d be miserable for days afterwards. Fast forward to 2012 and everything’s changed.
Two wins and a draw from the first three League games haven’t registered so much as a flicker on the pleasure Richter Scale. Being dumped out of the League Cup by MK Dons was greeted with indifference, due to the result having such an air of inevitability about it. Yet supporting your team shouldn’t be like that.
It’s not that I believe in animal cruelty, but seeing my team humiliated like that should make me want to kick the dog – or at least someone else’s because I don’t actually have one. Winning games should see me celebrating like a kid on Christmas Day. Currently I feel nothing because over the last 20 months I’ve seen the soul ripped out of my club.
There’s been times in the past when I’ve gone to Ewood and Rovers have been rubbish. Watching them in the old Third Division back in the 70s was hard at times – yet it didn’t matter because you knew the players we had would at least put a shift in. They were limited, but they tried for the shirt and it was appreciated. We were rubbish but we loved them all the more for it. Under the current regime it feels very different.
Inept ownership and management has seen Rovers become a bit of a laughing stock. Now we’re being served up rubbish when it could so easily have been avoided – and that’s certainly not appreciated. While modern football has become something of a soulless, corporate machine, clubs like Rovers should still be able to inflame a level of passion in what it does and how it performs.
Like the ex-wife I rid myself of many moons ago, Rovers’ fortunes no longer impact on the way I feel. Passion has been replaced with disinterest and alienation – it’s like divorce without the earache. The fact Rovers make someone who’s supported the club for over 40 years feel that way, should forever be a source of shame for those responsible. The problem is – it won’t.