Fan's Eye View: No 197; Workington

There is something unique about the innocence of childhood and the naivete of early adolescence that provides you with a "taken for granted" view of the world. There were 92 teams in the Football League - and Workington were one of them.

It was special - it gave you a sense of identity when trying to explain where you came from. If you were into football, it was natural to assume that all other sane humans were as well, so you said: "I'm from Workington, you know, Division Three" but more usually "Four." My relationship with the Reds started sometime in the 1957-58 season when, as a nine-year-old, I became aware that adults kicked a ball seriously and that the ground was quite near to my home.

At that time I was neither aware of history, nor the scope of the game beyond my immediate reality. The cost of such immaturity meant that I missed the famous FA Cup third-round tie in January 1958 when "we" were knocked out by the "Busby Babes" in one of the last games they played before Munich.

As the 60s and adolescence arrived, history and context began to take a greater hold on our lives. Shankly had been our manager and we had missed it, but the stories sounded good when told by our elders. Then there had been Joe Harvey, who was allowed to leave to take over at Newcastle. We had drifted from the Third Division North to the Fourth Division, and I had become aware of the process of re-election. In that time I saw the demise of Gateshead, Accrington Stanley, Bradford Park Avenue and then, nearer to home, Barrow. Life was now not so simple, innocent or straightforward.

In the summer of 1963 the club appointed a new player-manager, and there were a number of new signings. Little did we realise that Ken Furphy would produce a team that not only would give us promotion to the Third Division, but for a short time would threaten to win that league.

Furphy gave me my adolescent heroes, names that can still flavour conversations in pubs with friends when I got home. He gave us dreams of greatness, dreams that were stolen by arch rivals Carlisle and a disputed Kit Napier goal in a Christmas derby that was disallowed because he hit it so hard it rebounded off the back stanchion.

Furphy was attracted to Watford, pre Elton John, and took some of the stars with him. We returned to our roots in the Fourth Division. I left for higher education in 1968 to Manchester at its football best - but I was often to be found following my heart in places such as Stockport and Rochdale.

After graduation I found myself working in Oxford, so my relationship was maintained via the local weekly paper sent by my parents and carefully chosen visits home for holidays. The 1970s were bad times - each September promised a new opportunity, but the quality of the team appeared to get worse.

The last time that I saw them in that elite group of 92 was in the latter part of the 1976-77 season. I was in my Hertford period, so the nearest game was Cambridge. They went on to win the division that season, so we were just another home win for them, 4-1. A spirited performance from a team that was not good enough... but there was always next season!

But this time there wasn't. We only applied for re-election seven times, there are 12 teams who matched that number or beat it, eight of whom are still in the "club." We went - and in came Wimbledon.

The trauma is still with us, even after 19 seasons. We missed the opportunities now offered by the GM Vauxhall Conference, plummeting to the lower levels of the Northern Premier League. A ground that once held 21,000 is now capped at 2,500, with the grandstand losing its roof as a consequence of Taylor. But they are still my team.

I now live in Liverpool and my nine-year-old son supports the local "Reds." However, he joins his dad to visit exotic places such as Warrington, Witton Albion, Curzon Ashton, Eastwood Town and other welcoming grounds. Several weeks ago we had a weekend in Workington. He did what I always wanted to and was mascot for the home game with Worksop Town, watched by his grandad. Happy dreams...

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice