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Long-Distance Fan Hysteria By Nick Rippington

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SO there are about five or six minutes remaining. The score is 0-0. We are away to Blackpool, who started the season well but now sit alongside us in the lower reaches of League One.

It`s bloody hard. I`m working in an office. Try typing when you have your fingers and thumbs crossed, praying for a good result.
What`s going to happen? I`m supposed to be concentrating on how the pages of a national Sunday paper look when they come back to me from the sub-editors, but instead I am fully focused on the Bristol Post blog, willing Bristol Rovers to get some kind of result at Blackpool.
The truth is I really wanted to be at Bloomfield Road, but we splashed out quite a bit at Xmas and I need extra shifts to make up the money.

In football terms, this period of the game is scary. It can go either way.

I know Blackpool have spent most of the second half attacking and our defence has had to be on their guard. My mind flicks back to the game at Scunthorpe, when we held out for 93 minutes only to concede with virtually the last kick of the game.

Before that game we had approached away matches with a cavalier attitude – only to end up losing 3 or 4 nil. Now we seem to have stemmed the tide, but are struggling to score.

The final whistle goes at Blackpool, it finishes 0-0 and I am relieved. Though we are 17th in the division I think we have stopped the rot away from home and I`m happy to settle for a point apiece.
Then I hear on Twitter that some fans among the 1,112 that followed Rovers north jeered and booed our players off. And I am distraught.
Hell. The great thing about this club is our fans and the way we stick with our players.

Our latest signing joined the club because he heard good things about the supporters. So if there was abuse, I hope it is a minority, I really do.

Because this is a special club. With extra special fans.
We have faced up to adversity, and come back stronger. Stared into the abyss, and survived.

Whatever the circumstances, we have supported our club – and sometimes that support has shocked much bigger organisations.
A few years ago, for instance, we turned out in force for a league cup game at Birmingham and they were so taken aback by our numbers they had to open extra turnstiles.

On another occasion I was working in Cardiff when we played there in a Johnstone`s Paint Trophy final against Doncaster.
A friend of mine living nearly a mile away said he had never heard such a noise generated at the Millennium Stadium – and this was the home of Welsh rugby!

Gasheads, we have standards to maintain..
If we want to moan, boo or jeer our own team there are other clubs we can support.

But if we`re truly Gasheads, we have to live by the words of the song…

We`re loyal supporters, faithful and true.

Nick Rippington is a national newspaper journalist based in London. He is also award-winning author of UK gangland fiction thrillers Crossing The Whitewash and Spark Out.
Crossing the Whitewash – HERE
Spark Out –HERE

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