June 26, 2013 by backofthenetjl
There’s yet another piece in the series, this one features Josh Ilan telling us what it’s like to support Barnet.
Four years ago, if you told me I would have been a Barnet fanatic, I would have laughed hysterically at the proposition.
This all changed when I visited Underhill for the first time. Some friends had coerced me to going with them to an ‘attractive’ game against Accrington Stanley on a cold, winter Saturday afternoon. From the moment I entered the ground, I was gripped.
Underhill is an eccentric stadium, one which goes against the norm in modern football. It had an old-fashioned feel, with its stretching East Terrace – and the hallmark of the downwards slope. This place was not just a ground, but a part of my life.
Every Saturday from August to May became centred around the club, with everything else being shunned. In fact, it has changed my life in many ways, with it opening up many opportunities, creating many phenomenal experiences and allowing me to meet many new people.
It also makes me stand-out. Most people are ‘glory-hunters’, who support a club for trophies and reputation, as opposed to love and experiences. They cannot fathom why someone would support such an “awful side”, as opposed to a “European heavyweight”.
This annoys me a lot. Yes, we are not the greatest team – in fact, we have not finished above 22nd since I started supporting them! – but following your local team gives you unique experiences, and a far closer connection to the side.
For example, how many people can say they have been rescued from the side of the motorway by Edgar Davids after a loss away to Accrington Stanley? It is still an experience I cannot believe, and something I will treasure with me for life.
That is one of many memories and experiences I have had supporting the club. They range from the highest echelons – celebrating survival, Edgar Davids’ debut and our final-ever game at Underhill -, to the lowest – a 4-0 loss at home to Bradford, a five-and-a-half hour journey to Torquay to find out the game had been postponed and the ongoing jokes surrounding our vast number of awful players who have adorned the ‘Black and Amber’ shirts.
Supporting a ‘smaller’ side also enables you to become a part of the club. I have met many great, fascinating and crazy people supporting the club, from the supporter’s coach to Twitter.
It is not only fervent supporters this relates to, but I also know many people inside of the club as well: something which is phenomenal, and highlights the close nature of this small – but quirky – club.
As well as the new, it has helped me maintain the old. My dad and brother are now regular attendants at home games, while I go with a group of friends to every game, with this representing a social occasion for us. The club gives us a focus, a continual talking point and a shared bond.
Next season will represent a new era for us. Not only will we be playing in a new division, but in a new stadium – The Hive.
One constant that will remain, and likely to hasten, will be my support for the club. It is a bond that cannot be separated, an addiction that cannot be stopped. No matter how bad it is, I go back for more.
Despite the devastation of the lows, the highs supporting a local team cannot be matched.
Follow Josh on twitter: @JoshIlan_BFC
Follow me in twitter: @DisguisedPass