When I first sat down to write this article, I ha a pretty cool image in my head. In it I was the calm interested observer, not quite on the outside of things looking in, but on the fringes of things, exercising my freedom of choice. Not biting back against rampant consumerism, as such, but playing the game to make sure I enjoyed what I got for my hard earned cash.
And what was the cause of this arrogance? This will be the first season in about 20 years where I’m living in Wigan, don’t have a job that means I work Saturdays and aren’t on the dole where I’m planning to not get a season ticket.
Last season wasn’t the season it could have been for me. For large parts the football on offer was uninspiring and by the time Steve Bruce had turned things around, my disinterest had gone too far, I needed a breather, and for the first time in a while I was looking forward to the summer break.
Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not one of those, tear your ticket up, ‘not coming again types’, I’ve not fallen out of love with the club or football and, although I do feel pushed out and uncared for, as I’ve said already, I’m not quite ready to bite back.
In fact after a bit of a rest, buoyed by the fayre on show in Austria and Switzerland and with the faint whiff of wintergreen in the air the juices are flowing again. So what’s going on?
Mostly it’s a financial decision, I’ve not got a spare £250 knocking about, I’ve used my yearly bonus, to get my ticket for the past few years but that’s not happening this year for one reason or another. The thing is I only realised that after the deadline had passed for direct debit payments.
I was a bit miffed for a couple of days, but then something occurred to me. Not only would the direct debit payments (in the months that you pay them) cost me more than it would on a game to game basis, it would take away a fair chunk of my disposable income.
On top of that, in the last few years, I’ve only been to a couple of cup games and my appearances away from the JJB have been steadily reducing. Last season I didn’t go to a single away game. Whilst the thought of a guaranteed seat at every home game is comforting, I’m coming around to the thought that it’s not worth it if it means that you miss the better days out of the year.
Given the choice between Latics and Fulham at our place, or a trip down south and a day on the banks of the Thames (with the return match thrown in), it’s a no brainer. The strange thing is that I’ve deliberately denied myself that choice by getting a season ticket.
That’s not so much of a money thing as it is to do with time. With a young set of perms knocking about, I just can’t be spending most Saturdays out of the house and the corresponding Sundays slumped in a hungover mess.
Ask me now and I’ll tell you that I’m fairly sure I mean what I’m saying, that there’s no way that I’m trying to make the situation sound better than it is, either to you or myself. I’m not getting a season ticket, and I’m happy, well… ok about it, but there is that little niggle in the back of my head.
The interesting thing will be to look back on this in May and see whether this was all bluff and bluster. There’s a fair chance that, in the absence of a season ticket, I’ll miss more games than I really want to, and there are no guarantees that I’ll be reporting on the standards of railway station breakfasts.
Plus there’s every chance that I’ll fail before that, there’s still a couple of days to go until payday, and whilst I know the sums don’t add up on paper, it’s amazing how far you think it can go when it’s in your hands. Come the weekend you could well find me doing panic calculations and robbing Peter to pay Uncle Dave.
So if I started writing with a cocky old swagger, it disappeared pretty quickly. The image in my head has quickly changed to someone scrambling to stop sliding down a muddy bank, in no control whatsoever and getting further away from where I was trying to get in the first place. It’s quite obviously time to stop, have a brew and get the train timetables out.
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