BROWNE ON THE BALL: I am among the worst kinds of football fans, but real supporters all deserve their moments of glory

There is a feeling of hope at Boston United these days.
There is a feeling of hope at Boston United these days.

I grew up a Manchester United fan.

Coming from a family where rugby was the predominant sport, I didn’t have anyone guiding me towards the Red Devils.

When I picked a football team to support I hadn’t even visited the city to which I’d pledge allegiance.

I decided to follow United purely on the basis that my best mate at primary school told me I should. Simple as that.

That was back in 1988, when that season’s 11th-placed finish was all I knew.

But that didn’t bother me in the slightest as I was too busy kicking a ball in the playground and growing a mullet in an attempt to look like my new hero Brian McClair.

But then things changed.

As we entered the 1990s United began a period of English - and sometimes European - domination.

For the next 25 years the club picked up trophies with the regularity with which James Bond picks up beautiful women.

That was until this season.

A team in transition or a team of flops? Either way it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest.

If you’d have told me as an eight year old that I could have a quarter of a century of cheering Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners Cup, World Club Cup and even Charity Shield successes before never winning anything again I’d have bitten your hand off.

I still would.

Perhaps that’s because I’m little more than an armchair supporter.

I’ve watched ‘my team’ live a whopping three times... twice in the old Division One and once against Benfica in a Champions League match.

I’ve paid to watch Tranmere Rovers more often.

I’ve never been part of the financial machine either.

I’ve bought two replica shirts in my life, and the last one was when Mal Donaghy and Russell Beardsmore were still in the team.

I don’t even have Sky Sports, so when I do watch ‘my team’ on the box it’s the pub not the club who’s getting paid.

I’m one of the worst kinds of football supporter.

I should really switch my loyalty to one of the local teams I actually go to watch.

But then a fan who changes his colours is even worse.

Because my allegiance is so flimsy, I don’t think I really have the right to much of an opinion on how things are run.

But those supporters who hired a plane to protest against manager David Moyes are nothing short of ridiculous.

These plonkers - who don’t neccessarily represent the majority - have had it great for years.

They’ve cheered more triumphs than 90 per cent of die-hard football fans will ever see in a lifetime.

But because their team is only currently the seventh best in the country they believe they have a right to whinge.

If you believe that a rich history or spending wads of cash gives your team a divine right to success then you’re not a football fan. You’re an idiot.

I chose my team 26 years ago. But my job sees me spend my weekends covering Boston United.

This is a club which was refused its rightful entry to the Football League by committee vote. And when it did finally reach the promised land, that success was tarnished by a manager whose recruitment process earned him a suspended prison sentence.

Since then the Pilgrims have been demoted three times in the space of two seasons, come within a public meeting of liquidation and only just scraped through a UniBond Premier relegation battle.

Arguably the club’s greatest moment was its sole visit to Wembley, and they lost that.

Right now there is a buzz around the place, not because they are top of the league or an oil-rich Sheikh wants to invest.

Indeed, Tuesday night’s Skrill North fixture at Colwyn Bay is the closest the team will come to playing in Europe.

There is a buzz because there is hope - nothing more - of promotion.

As I write, they are not even in the play-off spots.

They sit in sixth place, just one position above the one Manchester United command in their division.

Two United’s, two very different outlooks.

But I know which set of fans I reckon deserve some success this season.