Ahead of York City Family Fun Day, organiser John Lacy recalls how his obsession with the club began
Football fans are fickle, they say. Well, yes, some fair-weather fans are quick to get on a player’s back or have a go at the manager or vote with their feet when the team’s not doing well.
But others remain incredibly loyal over years and years, travelling across the world and spending hours and hours and pounds and pounds, home and away, just to watch their team kick a ball about on a wet Saturday afternoon.
Why do we do it? What is the compulsion? Are we crazy or what?
In my own case the symptoms of the affliction began to appear when I was about five years old. I think I caught the bug from my Dad who took me to Bootham Crescent in 1950 or thereabouts to watch heroic figures like George Ivey, Alf Patrick and a little later, Sid Storey, Billy Fenton and Arthur Bottom. I’ve been afflicted and addicted ever since.
A personal story may illustrate what can happen when the condition becomes chronic.
My secondary education was provided by a famous school just three minutes’ walk from York City’s ground. St Peter’s School was then very much a “rugby” school. That is, the game of football was played with an egg shaped rather than a spherical ball.
“Soccer” was absolutely off limits – especially on a Saturday afternoon. The other day my grandchildren were absolutely flabbergasted to learn that I had to go to school on a Saturday!
Lessons in the morning, and worse: in the afternoon playing “rugger” was compulsory. It is remarkable, in view of this Saturday confinement to the school playing fields, how many York City games I managed to see between 1954 and 1961.
Cunning, deception and not a little risk was required to circumvent the school rules – dubious sick notes, missing roll calls, even resorting to disguises to escape school monitors (prefects) posted at the turnstiles to spot truants attending a night match.
I wasn’t alone. There was a kind of York City fans underground movement. We all knew each other but we didn’t advertise our affinities to any in authority in the school.
Many of those “secret soccer fans” remain committed supporters today, even amongst our elite Vice Presidents. But I dare not mention their names!
As for me. I got nicked! In the sixth form knocking off to watch York City was not felt to be a good example to set to the junior boys, and I got the stick (cane) – two strokes, I think.
I still don’t know whether to feel ashamed of this moral lapse or proud of the lengths to which I would go “for the love of York City”…
York City Family Fun Day
Sunday, September 22 from 11.30am to 3pm
York City will be throwing open the gates at Bootham Crescent to fans and local families alike. Everyone is welcome and admission is free. Come along for a chance to see behind the scenes on our popular Ground Tours and to meet all the players.
There will be lots of other fun activities for everyone including: penalty shootout, bouncy castle, freestyle football display and competition, childrens rides, candy floss and cake stalls
- John Lacy is a York City Supporters Trust Board Member