As I was growing up and learning to love football, supporters, maybe as many as 99%, generally followed their local team. They started every season thinking their club could win the league and their support never wavered when their hopes were not realised because a football club is not a stadium, a jersey or a badge. It is not the trophies won or the managers hired. It is not the players either. A club is more than all of those things. It is the collective memory and even more importantly the folklore that is passed down from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters. My first club was Caton United and from the age of about 5 or 6 I would go to every game, home and away, with my mother, Doris, who was a football fan all her life unlike my father, Frank. I was there when Caton United went undefeated for 45 consecutive matches in 1948-49. I was there at Christie Park on a Thursday night in May 1948 when Caton United defeated County Mental Hospital by 4-3 in the final of the Parkinson Cup with John Edward “Ted” Fairclough getting the winner in extra time. All my memories though were not entirely of success as I well remember returning to Christie Park in May 1950 and seeing my heroes lose 1-2 to Carnforth Rangers in the final of the Senior Charity Cup. Dougie Procter scored for Caton United and the team was: “Jonty” Hinde; Jimmy Till, Fred Robinson; Harry “Jock” Kerr, Johnny Young, Percy Capstick; Cyril Gardner, Joe Easterby, John Edward “Ted” Fairclough, Bill Auty, Dougie Procter. Caton United had already clinched Division I of the North Lancs League by 7 points from runners up, Carnforth Rangers, but that seemed little consolation to an inconsolable, 8-year-old kid.
It was about this time that I became aware of another team and another hero, Tottenham Hotspur and a centre forward by the name of Len Duquemin or “The Duke” as he was romantically called. How could I resist the call and I have steadfastly followed that club from 1949 and digested as much of their folklore as is possible without ever forgetting the man with magic in his name, Len Duquemin.
Not quite a religion but certainly a faith, unique to you but shared by others.
Many supporters and fans from the 1950s seem to have deserted their original clubs for a variety of reasons and the table below shows the exodus but not the destination. Obviously the ban on standing at football grounds affects only the Premier League and it is difficult to find an answer to the question.
Why have so many supporters abandoned their home town club?