England is a cold nation (no secret there!) but we are passionate, properly, about our football, that is. Now if you’re American and reading this you may think I am talking about the game beloved of your countrymen, involving that strangely shaped ball that you, nicely, throw, on a gridiron, I consider you get in touch with it. Properly, I am not. I’m speaking about what you guys contact “Soccer”, the ‘beautiful game’, the most well-known sport in the planet, played everywhere, and loved by numerous millions.
Yes, I am an Englishman, in case you hadn’t already guessed, and I reside in the warmth of California, but for most of my life, from the age of around 4, when my Dad took me on his shoulders to my very first football game, I have been in adore with football, and back in my house nation I would comply with my team anywhere. I lived about seventy miles from my team’s house ground, so even a house game would be a 140 mile round trip for me, but likewise I would think absolutely nothing of receiving up early on a Saturday morning and driving 250 miles to see my group play away from house at a ground in the north of England.
The game would final 90 minutes, then time to stop someplace on the way residence for a meal and back in my residence about midnight. My team? Gillingham. For the initial 107 years of their history they won quite small, but in the year 2000 they gained promotion to the second tier of English football, the “Championship” and this, to a lengthy, lengthy time supporter like me was sheer heaven. Sadly, it was also about the time that I was seriously considering of emigrating, to marry my American girlfriend, and I finally left England’s shores in 2003. Because then, and possibly as a direct result of my not becoming around to cheer them on, Gillingham have fallen back to the football league’s basement division, but they are in with a large shout of promotion this season back to the THIRD tier.
In my years of supporting “The Gills” I have amassed a enormous collection of Gillingham memorabilia, football programmes, scarves, badges, shirts, jerseys, kits, ticket stubs and the like. Now others might choose to gather Manchester United programmes, or Chelsea ticket stubs, or Arsenal jerseys, but for me there is only 1 group.
There is fairly an business around the collecting of football memorabilia and some rare programmes exchange hands for remarkable amounts of funds. Organizations exist solely for football memorabilia sales.
Would I go and see L.A. Galaxy, with or with out Beckham? No. Would I go and see a Gillingham reserve team playing against a high-school soccer team? YES!