I live in Kent, and my train pass is housed in a season ticket sleeve; and it’s the sleeve from my final Huddersfield Town season ticket (probably ever). It was for the 2006/07 season, and I have no recollection of it at all.
Not through drunkenness, as I tend not to drink a lot before football, but from malaise, both mine, and the team’s. I look back through the games that were played, and some moments flash to mind. I remember the 3-0 defeat that was the first game at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium.
I remember the Friday night trip to Yeovil (3-1 – the Town fans were chanting ‘This is embarrassing’ to the tune of ‘La donna e mobile’ at Peter Jackson as they went in at half time. It was, but I was off to visit friends in Exeter, so I didn’t really mind).
Oh, I think I remember the home game against Yeovil, too. A 2-3 defeat, with two of their goals coming from free-kicks from – if I recall correctly – Aaron Davies.
And that’s what I mean. £300 I would have paid for that season ticket. Now, 7 years down the line, I have three memories of the season, only one of which came from the price of the ticket. This fleeting appreciation of football was something I realised during a game at Leyton Orient three or four seasons ago.
The game had got into the second half (I think it was 1-1; Dean Cox with scored an absolute bullet) and I noticed Joey Gudjonsson was playing a pass in front of us and thought back to the first half. I could only remember four or five things that had happened, and fewer from the second.
Appropriately enough, and perhaps instructively, I remember that pass from Gudjonsson vividly. He tried to loft it over a couple of players towards the right wing and it looked good, but didn’t find a man. Typical Gudjonsson.
I had a season ticket most years from 1994/95 to 2006/07 (missed a couple when I was a student) to watch Huddersfield Town and, so far as I recall, missed only one home game in the seasons I had one – Lincoln City in the Auto Windscreens Shield in 1994.
I remember very, very little in terms of incident. I can be prompted to remember things if I read reports or scorelines, but I’m no longer certain if they’re my memories or collective memories of absorbed since. That’s why I struggle to find football good value for money. To pay £25 for an afternoon’s ‘entertainment’ is a lot.
If, by the end of it, most of it is already forgotten, and you can guarantee that if you keep repeating the experience it will almost certainly all be forgotten, why bother going? So I don’t. It doesn’t happen with films, does it? You don’t get to the end of Toy Story and forget how you got there. You don’t reach the final act of Rigoletto and not know what the protagonists are doing there.
But then I went to around 400 football matches in that 13 year period. That’s exactly 25 days’ worth of games. If I could remember even half of that now it would be a waste of my time and, the problem is that the home games, because they closely follow a routine, become routine.
There’s nothing to differentiate them including, frequently, the things that happen on the field – something that was particularly the case in the pre-Dean Hoyle era of Huddersfield Town.
I remember away games, the journeys to different places, the different stadia and, generally, the defeats. But the home wins, the
run-of-the-mill 2-0 victories against Cheltenham on 13th January 2007 that I assume I was at, I have no memory of at all.
I wonder whether other people are the same, particularly journalists. How much do they remember of what they’ve seen? How much is lost in the ether of routine?
I remember the Swansea City away game on the 23rd September 2006. I remember it because I wasn’t there. I remember that Simon Charlton scored from his own half for Oldham against Gillingham that day in a 4-0 win. I remember it because it was the day life became more important than football.
And, as much as it was the end of something, and its something I miss from time to time, it was the start of something else; something I’m much happier with, and something I remember much more of.
This seat has seen it all, from the first time to the last. The silences of now, and the good times of the past.
Mind you, that was seven years ago. And things were very different then.