I have been a regular at football matches for longer than I care to remember, and in that time I can count the times I have left early, on one hand, none of those games was due to the football either.
On Saturday, my club lost 4-1 to a worthy winner in Peterborough, Ipswich went 2-0 down in the first half, came out in the second half and went after a result, Peterborough took advantage and claimed two more before a consolation penalty flattered Ipswich’s performance.
This meandering article is not about the game specifically but has been provoked by it.
on 75 minutes, when Peterborough broke and subsequently scored their fourth, hordes of fans poured down the aisles toward the exits, many offering derisory comments, gestures and similar toward the pitch, the dugout and the owners’ box (whom I do not believe was in attendance, but still).
I stayed until the final whistle when I hot-footed it to Beatties Bar (named after the legend Kevin Beattie) to meet my friends for a beer before catching the train home. Post-match, Paul Lambert came on to the pitch and suffered the boos, similar to those heard fifteen minutes plus injury time earlier.
Today, the workplace discussions included listing when you have left a game early, and my list was amusing if nothing else. When I was 10(ish), my mum dragged me out of Portman Road before the final whistle, because our opponents were about to be relegated, and Millwall were no shrinking violets.
I left Prenton Park when I was 18 with minutes to go as I had won the golden gamble ticket raffle at half-time and had to go collect my winnings.
I didn’t leave another game early until my thirties, when I left a loss to Leeds, not because we were losing, but I was supposed to be collecting my brother and his wife from the airport after their honeymoon.
I left a boring 0-0 with Coventry to rush home for a wedding reception and I left Forest’s City ground when we were drawing 2-2 to catch a train to a family function in Birmingham. On the way across the car park, I heard Forest score the winner.
I don’t think I have left any other games early, and certainly never because of the performance, but, as it turns out, many people react to the result a lot worse. I kept asking why. The resounding answer seemed to be more of a ‘that will show them’ rather than not being able to take it anymore.
The players notice an exodus, I know, I have heard a comment about it, and their reaction is always negative, which makes me wonder why you would negatively affect your team? Like booing a manager or player, walking out is surely defeatist – isn’t it?
I was disappointed on Saturday, our season took a big hit but I have paid my money and I want to see the full performance, regardless of outcome, I am sure others will say that by paying their money, they can do what they like too, but, like protesting, if you’ve already bought your ticket, your walkout isn’t productive as a show of belief.