September 8, 2014
I arrived at Braintree to find a very friendly, relaxed football club who by self admission have been punching above their weight in the non league in recent seasons. I was greeted by a director who apologised for not shaking my hand because they were still dirty from repairing advertising boards around the ground; I shook his hand. The managers wife was making the tea and a number of Braintree players were watching the early start TV game in the clubhouse; no pressure. I thought all the pressure is on us here and it depends how we handle it. Another director who appeared to be hands on in the bar area asked me how many visiting fans I was expecting.
I replied that I would not be surprised at around 500 to 600. He looked well pleased at that then and went on to tell me how they had beaten Luton last season before carrying on with his hands on pre match preparations.
About the game? My forecast on visiting supporters looked good and we stared well enough. I thought we had taken the lead but their keeper pulled off a fine save. At the other end I saw Milds pluck a routine one out of the air and the ref pointing to the spot. I could not see enough of the incident or aftermath to comment more. One down and then two after the break. I thought again about us handling the pressure.
Game over and I shook hands once more with the home directors, said well played and told them they deserved to win. I walked away thinking, yes they deserved to win but our supporters deserve better than this. It’s what we must do over the coming weeks and months; we must give our supporters a lot better than this. It’s Monday morning as I write and I know full well what’s happening and being said in the workplaces in and around Bristol. Our time will come again but it will take a lot of hard work, dedication to the cause and a lot more of us being together and taking the pressure.