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Club News


27 August 2015

UP until this week, I did not like football.

In fact, I have managed to avoid going to a match for almost 25 years.

However, this all changed when it was decided by the Mail that the time had come for me to see our home team in action, so I went to see Burton Albion take on Middlesbrough.

Therefore, after a brief lesson on the off-side rule using coins and car keys, and a recap on who is who, I and fellow reporter Kit Sandeman set off.

As we went through the gates into the Pirelli Stadium, I was assured by the ticket man that Albion were in for a tough match – a line which I committed to memory in the hopes of sounding like I knew what I was talking about.

Kit and I were lucky enough to be standing at the end of the pitch with lots of die-hard fans who seemed to have been put in charge of heckling, chanting and bashing drums. It was an overwhelming atmosphere for someone who had never been to a match, but one which began to stir excitement about the coming game.

Despite knowing nothing about the sport, and actively avoiding it on TV, it was not too difficult to follow. I tentatively cheered where appropriate, shouted 'Brewers' a few octaves too high, and clapped along with chants I recognised. Before I knew it half an hour had gone by, and as far as I could tell, the boys in yellow and black were not doing too badly.

And then we scored. The noise was deafening and the chants picked up pace. The Brewers allowed themselves a smile but I was surprised that there were no T-shirts pulled onto their faces and aeroplaning round the pitch.

As the second half began, things became a bit more tense. Middlesbrough seemed much more determined and spent an alarming amount of time around the goal. With my hands on my face in horrible anticipation, the inevitable happened and the red team scored in the 70th minute.

I had expected booing from the fans, but instead there was just silence, before the battle cries of the chants revved up again.

I can actually pinpoint the moment I caught the football bug. It was around the 73rd minute, just after our rivals had scored, and the Brewers were haring back up the pitch towards our goal. I was screaming my head off in encouragement.

As we hit the 90-minute mark still with one goal each, Kit explained that we were going into extra time which meant another half-an-hour. I was delighted we had another whole 30 minutes to enjoy.

Other than a brief moment where I got confused about which goal we were aiming for, I knew what was going on 90 per cent of the time.

As most people will now know, Burton Albion were pipped to the post by an extra goal from Middlesbrough.

But, aside from the result, I could not be happier as I had fallen head over heels in love with football, and I was still proud of our team for holding a Championship team at bay for almost the whole match and coming so very close.

So if anyone wants me on Tuesday, September 29, I can be found at the Pirelli Stadium dressed head to toe in yellow, chanting 'Brewers'.

(Article - Burton Mail)

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