Adam Bird

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Friday, 24 August 2012

A Trial Separation

Gillingham Football Club

Last weekend Gillingham Football Club kicked off the new football season with a home game against Bradford City. It was the first time in... well, perhaps ever, I wasn’t there to see the start of a new campaign. In fact, as much as it pains me to say, it was the first time in twelve years that I began the football season as a non season ticket holder.

The past few seasons have been a difficult time for us Gillingham fans. The reappointment of Andy Hessenthaler after the shambles that was our relegation season was a move aimed to rebuild the fans relationship with its players after deteriorating so badly under previous manager Mark Stimson. But ultimately, it was the wrong move as time and time again the players at the managers disposal were not playing to their full potential and two eighth place finishes meant that once again Gillingham Football Club found themselves looking for a new manager during the close season.

It would be easy for me to turn around and say that on the field failures were the reason for my non-renewal, but it would be far from the truth. Our failure to gain promotion has made my decision a lot easier to handle, but the simple fact of the matter is, something had to give.

Stephanie, now we have exhausted her statutory maternity leave is back at work and will be working Saturday shifts when available to help bring in more finance. Having to find someone to look after both Oliver and Phoebe every other Saturday it becomes an effort to make necessary arrangements, as well as putting on people who help us out during the week whilst we are at work.

Having said that, ticket prices for children under sixteen were remarkably good value with a season ticket for Oliver, if I chose to buy one would cost just £50. But as yet, he hasn’t shown any real desire or wish to want to come with me week in week out. Meaning we’d only need help with Phoebe, but by the time I get home from work she is in bed, I get up to go to work she is asleep and I don’t want to be the strange man she sees only on Sundays.

The plan is by no means to stop going altogether, I couldn’t turn my back completely on the team that I love so much and have grown up with all my life. Every Saturday Stephanie isn’t working I’ll go to the game and take Oliver with me. It might even allow me to visit more away grounds and reach the elusive 92 club which I’ve stood stuck on 52 for so long.

If the team finally does get that elusive promotion back to league one which we’ve all craved for so long, I’ll be over the moon. If it means that they do it and I’ve missed out on certain victories and last minute winners, it won’t really matter, not compared to the alternative - missing out on my children growing up.

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