Life in the Lower Leagues: Cup clash got me hookedBy Tom Canning
March 14, 2013
Tom Canning is a director of Bracknell Town Football Club
I wrote in my previous column about the importance of supporters to a non-league, semi-professional football club.
I thought I'd follow that up with a little look back at how Bracknell's modern history has led to its current state, and how I really got the bug.
In 2000, under now Binfield boss Mark Tallentire, and his brother Clive we took 500 supporters to the clubs biggest day out - an FA Cup 1st Round Proper tie at Lincoln City.
It was brilliant. We lost 4-0, but we'd won five games in the cup already to even get to the first round.
I'd been going to the Lane with my dad since 1992, but this was the real hook.
And then Farnborough Town legend Alan Taylor took over and the real fun began.
A small group of us, who used the clubs old Internet forum started to gather at games, then we started sharing lifts to away games, then it was weekends away to English footballing hotbeds of Newport Isle of Wight, Worthing and Mangotsfield (Bristol).
We had songs, we had a drum, eight of us even outsung a bored mass of Hucknall Town (Nottingham) fans during our trip there in an FA Trophy defeat.
They were some great times, and I met a lot of great people. But as the recession started to hit, suddenly the club, which couldn’t afford much anyway, had to cut the budget and the rot began to set in.
Those times were great memories, but the last couple of years, despite our drop down the divisions, has seen a great ‘against the odds’ atmosphere at the club, and it’s become, in my opinion better for it.
The club is being run the right way now by a dedicated group, keen to see the club recover and rebuild, but not at the expensive of risking the club.
We have a young pair of rookie managers in Steve Nebbett and Danny Oliphant, backed by the experience of Steve McClurg and Bob Langridge who are engaging with the town and bringing more and more people through the gates.
The ‘good old days’ I remember might be gone, but I’m hopeful that those sorts of experiences will be just around the corner for our newer supporters.