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Tom Head’s Nottingham Forest blog: Relegated to ‘Armchair’ status. We’ve All Been There...

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Allow me to self-indulge just a little (it is the blogger’s prerogative), but this season was always going to be a tough one for me, in terms of actually getting to games...

I have undergone surgery on my left leg, and the more eagle-eyed amongst you will be able to see the device attached to it in my picture at the top of the screen, which in turn goes a long way to explaining why I have a face that seems to suggest Christmas has been cancelled this year.

To quote a rather famous song from these parts, “My desire is always to be here, oh City Ground”. Having not made it down to the ground this season, a feeling of treachery weighs upon my shoulders. I can at least claim redemption after making away trips to Huddersfield, and obscurely, Fleetwood Town in the League Cup. There have also been two televised games already this year, and I cannot give enough praise to the editorial genius who is broadcasting the match with Derby this weekend!

But, the ritualistic pleasure from attending a game - everything from a pre-match pint in August sunshine, to a life-saving Bovril in deepest December - outweighs any sort of home comfort you could take into consideration from watching a game in your living room.

Football is something you are born into, an inherited identity as to who you should follow, who you should hate, and why living vicariously through your team is the best possible waste of your time. To be detached from a freezing cold terrace, isolated from your fellow tribesmen in Garibaldi red, is a form of punishment roughly on the same level as being consigned to purgatory.

However, I don’t believe its completely fair to judge a ‘good fan’ on how many games they go to see in a year. It’s impractical: Commitments to family, work, and in this sick note’s case, injury, make the chances of going to see a full football programme as likely as seeing David Platt get the chance to balance Manchester City’s books. In fact, the measure of a true fan could be someone who can maintain that passion whilst separated from their side for a while.

There is one fan however, who is the legend of Forest-following folklore. Ebby Kleinrensing, a 53 year-old German fellow, has been to nigh on every Reds game for the last 30 years, flying to and from Düsseldorf every weekend of the regular season. Whether you can quantify the wealth of support by games watched or not, there is no question mark concerning the original ‘Uber-fan’. Any man who can keep up that level of commitment AND still be married deserves nothing but utmost respect.

I was a child of League One, spending my early teenage years watching play-off capitulations, and defeats to teams whose away support could have made the journey to Nottingham all in the back of my Mini Cooper... With room to spare for a game of Travel Scrabble. We have all paid our dues as Forest fans, and even though our problems haven’t scoured the more cavernous depths of despair, we have suffered nonetheless.

To have faith is to believe in something intangible, so to be relegated to armchair status, like we all have at some point, is a physical form of what faith really is.

Armchair, sofa, Main Stand, Trent End, or standing for the whole 90 minutes... There should be no question where you faith is, come Sunday afternoon.

 

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