Monday, 1 August 2011

Football in a library: not at Portman Road!

What's the most important part of being a Town fan? What is it that sends you home with a smile on your face: win, lose, or draw? What made Leicester away so much fun despite the dismal score line?

The banter with the Town fans, that's what I believe, and it's time we send every other Championship fan home thinking the same.

Sadly, the collective Tractor Boy mood wasn't particularly upbeat last season. So I was pleased today to find a Facebook group trying to change that in the run up to the next season:

'The Tractor Boy's Goal Celebration'!/pages/The-Tractor-Boys-Goal-Celebration/246395952057284 have pledged to start a new trend on the terraces of Town's home and away games - and they're aiming to make it an internet hit.

TOWN SCORES, All fans leap up and celebrate, then turn 90 degrees to their left, don a flat cap or baseball cap (put it on your head in other words), grab a large imaginary tractor wheel in front of you and randomly bump up and down as if you are driving over a ploughed field singing " Lets all drive our Tractor, Lets all drive our Tractor la la la la "

The idea's getting a very mixed reception on the social media sites. But, love it or hate it, I think you have to respect the idea behind it.

There has been a lack of comraderie among the Town fans in recent years: as a result of being bogged down by the boredom of mid-table mediocrity year after year (with the occassional concern about possible relegation, of course). It's sad to see the once vibrant 'Fortress Portman Road' turned so quiet, with chants of 'football in a library' being sung by sections of it's own crowd. I've long held the belief that more can be done to change this, and I've also felt that the club themselves could be making more of an effort.

Over the years I've seen some amazing and amusing half-time entertainment - performances and games that enthrall the crowd far more than a group of teenage cheerleaders bending in different directions in time to the latest dance tracks.

The one that sticks in my mind most: QPR away, many many many years ago. Selected fans were invited onto the pitch for a penalty shoot out, but before they each took their turn in front of the spot they had to press their heads down onto a stick (which was pushed into the ground) and run round it ten times. The unsuspecting - or just plain stupid - competitors would then zig zag and stumble dizzily, making their way towards the ball, before slicing it high or just plain missing it altogether. It was the funniest thing I have seen at a football match and yet it was so, so simple.

Where are these half time games at Portman Road? In recent years we've had 'The Bootiful Game', 'The Boatiful Game' and 'Blues Cruise' - all a simple challenge of chipping the ball into the boot of a cardboard car/cruise ship to win a car/holiday. Simple idea and often somewhat amusing (remember during the 2008 Olympics when one competitor started clapping above his head in the manner of a long jumper, only to have the whole crowd happily join in?!). Yet even this regular game was missing last season.

It disappoints me that the PR team at PR (geddit?!) have not put more effort into the pre-match and half-time entertainment. They seemed to make some effort at the doomed Narwich game in April with the fantastic Samba band, but even that seemed a little half hearted. The music system was left playing as the band entered the pitch, ruining the build up to their climatic finale. Such a shame. Perhaps the club need more ideas?

I would love to get together any ideas that you have and send them to the club. That way we can do our bit towards making the 2011/12 season a success for Town. After all it's commonly considered that the noise and support of a team's fans is what makes the difference to the scoreline. Wouldn't you love to play a part in their promotion this year? Wouldn't it be nice to be known as the best fans in the league? And to rid our memories of last year's boo boys?

Because the single most important influence on the atmosphere at the games is US. Hence the reason I wholeheartedly put every effort I can into ideas like the Tractor Boy's Goal Celebration.

How nice to have Town fans saying, 'Do you know what? We love watching our boys play and we want to show that to everyone?' Will you do the same?

Before I leave I'll get the ball rolling with the idea that I had for pre-match entertainment to warm-up the crowd: Give the 'megaphone guy' a real microphone and let him do a few laps inside the stadium this year! He could be our 'Canary Fairy'.

Got a better idea? I genuinely hope to get a few together and send them off to Camilla Haycock at the Press Office.

So get in touch by commenting on this post, sending me a message or Tweeting me @tractorgirlamy . If we get enough ideas we can turn it into a full blown petition!

Let's get this party started!


Anonymous said...

Are you for real?! How embarrassing is this?! "Donning a flat cap?! And as for our "Canary fairy", even Norwich fans are horrified by him!

Dannybreakz said...

Amy -

I quite like your blog, and props to you for taking the time to write it - but the whole idea of 'manufacturing an atmosphere' is a pretty weak one.

If the team are successful, the crowd will naturally get behind them; there will be no need for gimmicks like this 'Tractordriver' guff...

As for half-time entertainment - get to the bar with your boyfriend, like everyone else in the North Stand...



Anonymous said...

I really like your blog, but this idea is just cringeworthy.

But by all means, try it and make yourself look a laughing stock as about 10 people join in and the rest of the ground is dancing around, going mental and generally enjoying the moment.

SuffolkJason said...

I'm a bit surprised by some of the negative comments that have been posted. It's easy to criticize, not so easy to come up with constructive ideas. I think you're on to something. Look at the atmosphere generated by the Stoke fans, I'm sure that's worth a few points every season.

I'm not sure how you get the fans to be more vocal. Did you see the highlights from Brighton's first home match at their new stadium. I think that every supporter was given a flag to wave. That seemed to generate a lot of excitement and noise. A free flag from Marcus Evans might even get the most cynical and self-aware to get involved, what do you think Anonymous, Dannybreakz and Anonymous 2?