Smith on Soccer: Bell tolls for Matt but he’s up for trips!

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ONLY a football fan could offer such blind optimism and keep a relatively straight face.

In this case it’s Matthew Bell, Sheffield United fan and editor of Flashing Blade fanzine.

But it could be any diehard from any club.

After lamenting management choices, loan players, the relative merits of big personality bosses s and football success he said this about Sheffield United’s impending relegation.

“I think the away following might pick up next season. There are lots of new grounds to go to, lots of new places we can visit. The game is only part of the day out and there are all those grounds in the south west we can go to and make a long weekend of it.”

Who cares about trekking to Carlisle, Southampton and Rochdale when you can look forward to a few days near Yeovil or Exeter in November or January?

Those of us that only make the occasional visit to a game tend to be deluded into thinking that the most important thing about the day is the match.

Don’t be silly. Its the trip that counts. The stories and the beers and the things that go wrong.

Fans like Matthew can’t let their team spoil a good day. Call it self-protection, denial or whatever you like but to be a real football fan through thin and thinner there has to be more to the match than football.

“You just accept relegation, I’m beyond the stage where I get depressed about it,” he added.

Here’s to Matthew and all those like him in every stand in the land.

Where would the game be without them?