I love football and I particularly love Hull City AFC. I always have and I always will.
Football has always been my best friend. I know that sounds corny but try to avoid throwing up because it’s 100% true. I didn’t have a horrendous childhood, relatively speaking, but I had plenty of rough times and football was always my escape. Playing footy, reading about football, thinking about football, playing football games on my Speccy computer (or later Amiga) and especially going to Boothferry Park to watch City – almost all of my memories from when I was a kid belong to one of those categories. The serious stuff that made things tough at times pales in comparison to memories of my best friend – Hull City.
Twenty odd years later and I still feel exactly the same. Life isn’t always easy. I have a wife and kids and we’ve had some real lows to deal with in the past couple of years that I won’t bore you with but football has still been my escape. Coaching kids or tweeting and writing about and watching City is my escape from the occasionally horrible realities of life.
We’ve always been through the mill as Hull City fans and none more so than of late with the seemingly deliberate attempts to divide our support through name change bollocks, price rises and now this awfully executed membership scheme. Some are at the end of their tether with City because of it and I appreciate their frustration but I just don’t feel the same and never will.
Following Hull City means the world to me and I absolutely refuse to have that taken away from me by anyone. It’s hard sometimes under the current stewardship not to just chuck it in but I know that would be cutting my nose off to spite my face. I love City and everything that goes with supporting such a heart-wrenching, stomach-churning, brain-melting football club (referring to natural sporting turmoil not despicable, deliberate sabotage) and as long as I’m physically and economically able to – I’ll be there supporting.
This weekend brings a trip to Wembley – only our fourth ever. It’s not quite as exciting as that first trip on May 24th 2008 and to be honest, nothing football ever brings again will match the sheer joy and disbelief that day provided – and that was before we’d even kicked off! Nor is this as exciting as our appearance in the FA Cup Final in 2014. Another mind-blowing experience that never seemed possible. But it is still a rare experience. I got Goosebumps and shed a tear in 2008 visiting Boothferry Park after we’d been promoted at Wembley, thinking about the generations of City fans over 104 years who’d never got to feel what we felt that day and never got to see our City in the top flight.
Those people still cross my mind today. We’ve been spoiled as City fans since the minute Adam Pearson walked into the club in 2001. We’ve enjoyed unprecedented success and though a few have tried to sour it – we’ve seen our football club achieve things that a century of City fans dreamed off, desired and tens of thousands never witnessed.
A trip to Wembley, Hull City in the national spotlight and a shot at a third promotion to the top flight is still incredibly special. I’ve been excited for days but the reality is really starting to hit now and that mix of anticipation, pleasure, nervousness and fear is churning inside me. I simply cannot wait. I can’t wait to see Hull City on the biggest stage again.
I can barely bring myself to think about our future if we lose. I’m almost certain that – barring major new investment - it will bring about a scenario where we’ll not hit this heights for another generation or ten. But I don’t particularly care really. (Resisting the urge to use cheesy song lyrics here!)
I don’t care if Hull City are in the top flight or League 8. They’ll always be my anchor in life’s ocean. Most of all, they’re my best friend*.
*Cheesy, eh? Blame Don Williams!