Part-timers v diehard devotees is annual sideshow to promotion fight, but why are supporters keeping score?

Season ticket holders with impeccable match-going records get evangelical about attendance, but instead of bemoaning a full capacity, rejoice in it, writes Laura Lawrence.

Credit: @swfc

I don’t object to the concept of a deity, but I am baffled by the notion of one that takes attendance.

Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory

It’s around this time of year that the horses of some supporters get very high, the diehard ones that attend every match, home and away. And why are they up on that horse? Part-timers. Glory hunters. The fans who only attend the important games.

Teams across the leagues are reaching that point of the season where the points really do mean prizes. A ticket to a higher league is a tempting notion and the excitement levels stir the fanbase pot, but this angers some fans. If you’re a true fan you should be attending most matches. Attendance at the stadium is mandatory for your faith to be real.

But with the omnipotence of football coverage does it really matter where and when you support your team?

To some it does. Complaints of fans coming out of the woodwork when promotion is on the cards really irks this type of fan. The sacrifices they make to support their club makes them evangelical about attendance but what if you can’t make those choices?

Take my circumstances for example. I had a season ticket from the mid-nineties until four years ago. I have a child in full-time education so can’t travel for mid-week matches, I have three stepchildren that we also have every weekend and I have a nearly 400-mile round trip to contend with to get to Sheffield. By the diehards very definition, I’m now a part-timer because I can only make a handful of games a season. Somehow that makes me unworthy of a ticket to a game of my choice and that I should be making more effort.

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Manchester City had complaints of this nature a few seasons ago when they were at the height of their powers. Empty seats mean ungrateful worshippers. There is little empathy for the part-timer. Cost of tickets and travel make most games out of reach for a lot of supporters. Also, people work at weekends, who would have thought it?

The diehard sacrifices things to go to the extremes of going to every game. I applaud your efforts. I suspect there may also be a lot of spouses and parents left at home bearing the brunt of those decisions, but let’s not jump down that rabbit hole.

Irrespective of whether a ‘part-timer’ gets a ticket to these important matches, the ‘diehards’ will have already secured their tickets first, so why does it matter so much? We’d all love to have our grounds filled week in, week out, generating much-needed income for the club we all love, but life doesn’t work like that for most people. We have to pick and choose when we attend the holy ground.

So instead of bemoaning a full capacity, rejoice in it. Revel in its splendour and keep praying that football gods grant promotion.

Follow Laura Lawrence on Twitter @YICETOR

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