I’m not a terribly big football fan. I used to be interested, but I went right off it early this decade. My theory is that this is down to the fact that the football team I was brought up to support is Dumbarton FC. Despite having been born in Kirkcaldy and lived here almost all my life, since my father is from Dumbarton that is who I was encouraged to support. My dad is a big Dumbarton supporter. That is why his blog, and indeed his book, are called A Son of the Rock.
But despite my dad’s fanaticism, I don’t think supporting Dumbarton was conducive to me becoming a football fan. It’s not easy to support a football team that is based at the opposite end of the country, especially when that team is — to be fair — crap.
There was also the experience of having sat for ages in what must be some of Scotland’s grubbiest football grounds. Most of my matches must have taken place at Dumbarton’s former home of Boghead Park. By the time it was vacated in 2000, it had been Dumbarton’s home ground for 121 years. At the time, it was the longest any senior football club had occupied a ground. It was a shitehole. Nice views though, which I enjoyed from the pitch on the invasion following the last-ever game played there.
I’ve been to Cowdenbeath’s ground a few too many times for my liking too. I once utterly lost the will to live, freezing my bollocks off standing at the railings there. Worst of all though was East Fife’s ground, Bayview Stadium. This place has one stand. This stand sits in the shade. It also directly faces the North Sea. I don’t think I have ever been so cold in my life.
This weekend, I decided on a whim to travel through with my dad to watch Dumbarton play. It must have been my first football match for six or seven years. It was possible for them to win the Division 3 Championship. I thought it would be interesting to watch Dumbarton achieve something, though I have since learned that I apparently watched Dumbarton get promoted before, and I have absolutely no recollection of it.
Saturday’s experience was a reminder of just how far away Dumbarton is. We left the house at 12:30pm, and didn’t return until the back of 8pm. And all we did was watch a football match.
The football wasn’t the sort of standard that would convert me back. Dumbarton were too dominant. Elgin City, bottom of the table, had nothing to play for and they certainly looked like a squad sapped of motivation.
Dumbarton ended up winning 6-0, breaking a couple of records in the process. Derek Carcary put four of them away, becoming the first Dumbarton player to do so since the 1970s. Dumbarton also surpassed their all-time record of not letting any goals in, currently standing at almost 700 minutes.
I watched Dumbarton become Division 3 champions in all but name. The fans and players celebrated, but there was no trophy presentation. East Stirlingshire, just three points behind, still technically have a chance of winning. But with a goal difference, er, difference of 18, it is almost 100% certain that they will not. I felt it was a slightly surreal and empty way for Dumbarton to become champions. Nonetheless, champions they apparently are. It makes them the first team in Scotland to become Champions at four different levels!
Funnily enough, I was almost roped in to watching my local team Raith Rovers last week. In the end it didn’t happen. But congratulations to them as well. This weekend they became Division 2 champions. I didn’t see any dancing in the streets.