I’m relatively new to TMUFC. I started attending at the beginning of the 16/17 season and have been regular since. The highs and the lows! Promotion, relegation and lots in between.
I have lived in Tooting for many years but, to be honest, until 2016 the club did not really register in my conscience. The local Wandsworth Guardian Newspaper never mentions the Terrors (though it reports on other football clubs and other sports). The ground, whilst fairly close to Tooting, is not on a route many in Tooting necessarily use- particularly if they commute by tube and train rather than drive. So, until 2016, I was barely aware of TMUFC’s existence.
I think this remains typical. From what I can make out where I live, the public awareness of TMUFC is minimal. There aren’t many public mentions or signs of the club, the odd match day poster perhaps in the window of a pub or café. I find this puzzling. Surely if lots more people knew about the club they would follow their curiosity and go? And then go again? Greater public awareness could equal larger attendances- which could equal more spending money for players- which could equal…! Perhaps I’m being naive, and this is a thought process well-worn by others. I’m sure getting new people through the turnstile is not as straightforward as it seems.
It was my son that asked to go to a game (he had seen a match day poster somewhere) and we came along. Instantly, we were hooked and it is with my son that I attend almost every home game and even the odd away, if work and family commitments allow.
You can’t get much in life for £10 (and kids go free) so with the conviction of the true believer I exhort friends and acquaintances to come along and support their local team. Some have accepted the invitation (and have returned to watch again) but many do not, even with the offer of car lift included. I always feel it is their loss, that they are missing out.
My extolling of the attractions of non- league often elicits a bemused, perplexed or condescending response from the Premiership Club supporter. In their mind’s eye they have a vision of “honest football” that is a mud bath of overweight players; that is “agricultural”, the ball in the air more than on the grass. If I’m honest, I think there are times when visiting teams have been like that and, truthfully, perhaps even *we* may have been guilty of it.
And then I think of Isaiah Jones. He is not like that. They should come to watch Isaiah Jones.
OK. Sometimes, he attempts too much. Sometimes, frustratingly, he concedes possession. But when Isaiah receives the ball the crowd gets excited. We know what he’s capable of- the quick feet, the close control, the tormenting of opposition defenders. We have all witnessed the ugly retribution he often provokes. I recall one game when, flying down the left wing at full pelt whilst being pursued, Isaiah continued his run by deftly chipping the ball over the onrushing right back – who promptly chased Isaiah and hacked him down from behind, nowhere near the ball. Somehow he got only got a yellow. Should have been a red, if you ask me.
When that sweeping, long, high ball comes over and, defender rushing in, Isaiah gracefully controls it first touch, we expect. Isaiah has unlocked resolute defences, turned games in our favour, scored great goals, raised hopes and spirits.
I understand Isaiah is moving on to bigger things and I’m sure all share my sentiment of sending him on with our thanks for the memories and hope he achieves what his potential deserves. I’m sure a few teammates may also be moving in the same direction and good luck to them too. That’s the way it is. They are looking forward to an exciting future.
Perhaps with the new management’s blending of established players with homegrown talent coming through, TMUFC is looking forward to an exciting future too. I am glad to feel part of that.