A rallying cry to our support at this crucial point in the 2017/18 season...
Relegation eh. It’s unfamiliar territory for most of us. Whilst pitch invading, flare-sporting Reds of a certain age will shudder at recollections of the events of 27th April 1974, aside from a dodgy spell in the spring of 1990, until relatively recently the dreaded r-word has barely featured in our match day vocabulary. We’ve flirted with it briefly in our previous two seasons in National League North but on both occasions, as the first daffodils bloomed, we’ve managed to string together a decent run of results and wrestle ourselves clear of any danger. But this time, as we enter the last six weeks of the season, the threat of relegation is looming elephantine after a miserable set of results since early February with only a couple of points gleaned from our last half dozen matches.
In some respects it’s odd that we’re even contemplating the drop as our form in Tom Greaves’ first ten home matches in charge has been amongst the best in the division with seven wins, two draws and only one defeat. The sort of form that were it matched away from home would have us dreaming of trips to Borehamwood, Bromley and Barrow next season. Indeed Broadhurst Park has become something of a fortress since October and the feel good factor has returned as supporters have been able to enjoy some stirring performances on the pitch with a pint or two on the terraces. And it’s no surprise that this combination of decent football and terrace laissez-faire has boosted attendances with an average crowd of 2,311 at Broadhurst Park over the last ten games (compared to an average of 1,813 for the first six home games).
But away from home our form has been grim, to say the least, with only one league win on the road this season - in fact, we haven’t won away from home on a Saturday afternoon since last April at Nuneaton. Which explains why we find ourselves dangling precariously above the relegation zone with only eight matches of the season remaining. With North Ferriby United all but doomed there are eight or nine teams nervously eyeing the bottom end of the table and desperately trying to avoid being in the other two relegation spots come the end of April. We are in a humdinger of a relegation scrap, no question, with five of our remaining matches against teams that are also scrambling to avoid the drop.
It would be nice to think that by the time we host North Ferriby in our final match of the season that we’ll have amassed enough points to be safe and for that to happen we undoubtedly need the management team and the players to get us firing on all cylinders on the pitch. But off it too we need everyone to do their bit and roar the lads on - players, staff and fans united. The signs were there in a rollicking second half comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 4-4 at Boston on Saturday, scoring our first league goals for seven weeks, that we might have turned the corner and put a miserable run of form behind us but we now need to bring the collective spirit of that second half in Boston to Moston. We’ve got five home matches left starting on Tuesday night against Gainsborough Trinity and it’s crucial that we pick up as many points as we possibly can in those five games to preserve our status in the sixth tier of English football.
So whether you haven’t been to a match for a while or have been to every game this season home and away; whether you have a penchant for tartan blankets or jester hats; whether you like a few pints on the terrace or prefer a half-time flask of hot vimto; whether you spend half your life on internet forums or can’t even log onto the members’ forum despite two hundred and seventy six attempts; whether you’re gruntled or disgruntled about what’s happened to the club since 2015; whether you think it’s all about momentum after Boston or you’d prefer to keep politics out of football; whether you’ve set up a complex spreadsheet model to predict the results for the rest of the season or you’re clutching a rabbit’s foot and hoping for the best…..make sure you get yourself down to Broadhurst Park for the five remaining home games.
Buy a programme, spend a pound for the ground, grab a pie and summat to drink, and sing yourself hoarse and let’s get the place rocking like a raucous pint-sized Mostonian version of Barcelona in ’84 or Middlesbrough in the League Cup semi in ’92. Let’s summon the spirit of Quorn, the sheer euphoria of Rochdale and the vocal chord shredding noise of Bradford Park Avenue away in that play-off semi and raise the roof like never before. If we go down fighting then so be it but let’s give it a right old go on and off the pitch - it’s the United way after all, it’s in our football heritage.
So, without further ado, stick these dates and times in your diary, kitchen calendar, phone or filofax because your presence at a football ground is needed perhaps more than ever before - Tommy Greaves’ red and white army needs YOU at Broadhurst Park.
Tuesday 20th March, 7.45pm - Gainsborough Trinity
Saturday 24th March, 3pm - Bradford Park Avenue
Monday 2nd April, 3pm - York City
Saturday 14th April, 3pm - Darlington
Saturday 28th April, 3pm - North Ferriby United
See you there. BRING ON U-NI-TED!!!
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