Spread the love


I published a fantastic book with the Bristol City Supporters’ Trust a few years back that contained dozens of stories – written by the fans for the fans. The ‘Til I Die’ series of books underlined just how much in common football fans around the country share, and how, in so many cases, football is clearly so much more than just the game… ‘it is the glue that binds families together’. Ahead of tomorrow’s match at Ashton Gate, I thought I’d share one of the most powerful demonstrations of that fact and how play-off hell is something Bees’ fans have no monopoly over. 

Dave Lane

My wife to be took me to my first City game. City versus West Brom, a 2-2 draw and, typically for City, they had double sold the tickets – but we were there first and there we sat! We saw them into the old First Division, with season tickets in the enclosure and we saw them drop through the divisions. My wife went less often, children came and we moved down to Taunton, then on to Westbury.

I carried on going to a few games, then after moving back to Bristol, I regularly started taking our two boys. My eldest son’s initiation was a 1-0 defeat by Chester and the youngest was a 2-1 win over Preston. They can still describe the goals. Then one Christmas we were flying high, Ward was in charge and, together with Watford, we were running away with the division. Millwall were due on home on Boxing Day and we all went down, my wife enjoying the first game of the half-season ticket I had bought her for as a surprise present.

Four-nil was a good result, but she was not feeling well and at midnight on New Year’s Eve in the Bristol Royal Infirmary she died, leaving me with City-mad 13 and 15-year-olds and a nearly grown up 18-year-old daughter just off to university. Me and the boys went to nearly every home and away game for the rest of the season, building a bond with them which is still remarked on.

Did I cry when we lost the play-offs to Hull? Of course I did; I cried because we lost, I cried because my wife wasn’t there with us, I cried because football is more than just a game, it is the glue that binds families like us together. Clubs and players ignore that at their peril.

Tim Leigh