The World Cup last month completely captivated Daniel and he has become engrossed in all things football. This weekend saw the start of the season for those teams outside of the Premier League, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take him along to watch a local team, Stockport County.
We hadn’t told him where he was going, only that he and Damian would be having an afternoon together. I dropped them off in Edgeley and they walked across to the ground. Daniel wasn’t too sure where he was initially but soon worked it out as Damian asked him if they should see if they could get a ticket.
Big day for this one today. First live football match. Since the world cup he has been football obsessed and today is the start of the lower leagues season so he is off to our local team, Stockport County. They're currently winning 3-0 so he will be a happy boy I am sure, and perhaps this will be his team of choice.
Complete with ticket and a programme they had a wander around the ground before heading in. Once inside they took their seats and waited for the game to begin.
My first football matches were watching Manchester City back in the 1998-1999 season when we graced Division 2 – there were many seasons of not great games against not great opposition but there was a real feeling of being closer to the team than I think there is now. Inevitably, as City have gained investment and success the fans get more removed from the players on the pitch.
The attendance at the County game was just over 4500, which for a non-league team is pretty impressive I think. Daniel was able to get close to the action and Damian tells me he enjoyed watching the game, although I can’t help but feel his football going has peaked a little early – a 5-1 victory does set him up for the bitter taste of disappointment when Stockport inevitably lose at some stage!
At half time he had a hot dog sausage and his picture taken with the mascot, Vernon Bear. I had arranged for a shout out on the PA system, which Damian heard but completely passed Daniel by! It was the traditional match day experience and one that will stay with him for a while. I’m glad his exposure to football was at a lower league team. The Premier League has its place, but it’s good to get close to the players and the action.
Yesterday, whilst getting the Sunday paper, I picked up a copy of the Non-League newspaper and he read it – telling me that Stockport were on the front cover and running in to tell me that Stockport were so good they didn’t get any yellow cards! He has started making a scrapbook for his ticket and programme – he tells me he needs space to add some more tickets for the next game he goes to, and spent a little time writing out a note about his day.
I’m sure that this season he will follow Stockport’s fortunes and we might try and take him to another game at some stage soon. We have the list of August fixtures printed and I think he will enjoy filling in the results and reading the match reports. Of course the Premier League starts later this week, so I am sure he will enjoy following his dad’s team (Manchester United) and my team (Manchester City) as the season progresses, alongside Stockport County.firs