(Ebbsfleet vs Barnet Sept ’19)
I’m always looking for different things to put on the blog especially at the moment to keep people entertained and occupied during these difficult circumstances. So this one is the first of three people I’ve asked for a piece and there are a couple of other two or three part series to come over the next few weeks or months and I’m always open to different ideas if I can find a source to get the information from.
In the last couple of weeks you’ve found out why I am a Barnet fan and in this piece you will find out why Natalie is an Ebbsfleet fan, we all have a story this is hers:
As a 33 year old mother of two it is not very stereotypical to have such a huge interest in football but unfortunately for my family and close friends I would class myself as a huge football fan, let me tell you where it all began and the reasons behind my love for my local team Ebbsfleet United Football Club
Growing up in Gravesend with my Mum and Dad I never really had an interest in football till I was 9 years old. My Dad would go and watch our local team Gravesend and Northfleet Football Club (GNFC) and I always thought he was crazy to be standing there in the cold on a Saturday afternoon.
During the 95/96 season GNFC got through to the third round of the FA Cup, a home tie against Aston Villa which was later changed to an away day for us, I was asked to go and reluctantly agreed. It seemed like the whole of Gravesend was there that day to see us lose 3-0 but what an amazing day! I was hooked! Every weekend I would spend my Saturdays watching the team either home or away and met some great friends who we would travel to away games with. One of my earliest memories was having my hands thawed out by Jimmy Jackson’s Mum at an away game as I was so cold, I soon learnt to layer up after that! I grew to know the players and their families, even doing a piece on the club for my media GCSE homework
Watching the club has got me through many important times in my life from my parent’s divorce and difficult teenage years to starting a family of my own, it has always been a structured part of my life. Every Boxing Day me and my dad will always go to a game together home or away much to the delight of my family!
I have seen many different changes at the club, promotions, relegations, FA trophy wins, various managers and even a change of name to Ebbsfleet United Football Club.
I have witnessed some great players at the Fleet, Mickey Cotter, (my first crush!) Steve Portway, Jimmy Jackson and a very young Jimmy Bullard to name a few.
The highlight for me has to be watching us get promoted in the 2002 season, seeing Jimmy Jackson lifting the trophy and celebrating after in the club bar with the players. Watching Andy Ford our then manager dancing on the snooker table will be something I will never forget!
As a female football fan I have had some strange looks from some of the male fans especially when they realise I know what I am talking about! But I just take it on the chin, it won’t stop me going to games, even away games on my own.
I have made some great friends at the club from Harry that sells the programmes, (who I now have to call Grandad!) to some of our past players. You can always guarantee I will know someone when going to Stonebridge Road, my 8 year old daughter even attends some games with me and loves giving the team high fives warming up, exactly what I used to do at her age!
24 years later I have travelled far and wide to watch my team, Morecambe, Chester and Burton Albion are examples of the away games I have attended. This season I have travelled to Halifax and Stockport to support the boys even though we were in a relegation battle as I feel it is important to show your support when times are tough, and I am sure the team appreciates it! Plus I love an away day, the early starts, coming together as fans and even the long drive home buzzing if we have won and gloomy if we have lost, its all part of it.
Ebbsfleet was in the news with the late payment of wages last season which I try to stay away from and continue to show my support, however now we have a great director and new CEO who I know both want what is best for the club. We have probably lost one of the best teams in a while at the end of the 18/19 with the likes of Luke Coulson, Myles Weston and Dean Rance to name a couple that have left the team as well as Gary Hill the manager. I do have full faith in our new manager Kevin Watson though as he came in when times were tough and is proving himself to be a great manager.
Whatever the future at Ebbsfleet United Football Club you can be sure of one thing, I will be there………..