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New Years Football: Then & Now

Football on New Years Day is always one of my favourites. It's always the last little extra treat over the festive period before we have the dreaded return to work. There's just something about going to the football on a cold, frosty Bank Holiday. I've found that everyone is generally in high spirits before the match. It's a New Year, the transfer window is open again plus we are all fat and happy from Christmas. It's only when we realise 10 minutes into the match that we simply aren't scoring a goal that we come crashing back down to earth. New Year, same Gas.



I'm not the biggest fan of New Years Eve. I think it's a little cheesy and being born in January it only ever means I'm one year closer to going grey. So on the 31st December 2019, when I received a text from my friend Chris offering the last space in his car to MK Dons (A), I didn't hesitate to cut my night short. 10am on New Years Day and we hit the road.

We arrived in Milton Keynes about 12:30pm. We stuffed ourselves with burgers and beers in TGI Fridays opposite the stadium before heading to the turnstiles. Dressed in big coats, scarves, gloves and BRFC bobble hats - the Gasheads were in good voice ahead of the match. With us sat in 7th place (thank you Graham) and MK Dons in 21st - we had every reason to be optimistic, right?! *explicit language

Well in typical Bristol Rovers fashion, we lost 3-0. It was a real pedestrian performance that lacked any firepower. One shot on target and only 39% possession wasn't worth losing the feeling in my toes for. We realised by this point, it was becoming more apparent that Ben Garner was immune to this 'new manager curse' everyone seemed to talk about.

Not that we ever looked close to playing well but our luck ran out pretty quickly once Jaakkola hobbled off injured. We were really glad we chose that game to take a Finland flag showing our support for him - seeing as he disappeared down the tunnel 10 minutes into the game. It's the thought that counts.

Still, we tweeted him a picture later on and he was touched by the gesture. There's no doubt that this combined with the well wishes from the fans cheered him up about his injury. His response certainly cheered me up about the result! It's important that the players acknowledge the support from fans.



New Years football this year hits different. That's not because it's actually scheduled for the 2nd rather than the 1st (a bit annoying - the one year I wouldn't have been hungover) but because we are once again having to watch through a TV screen. I would give anything to be standing on the terrace vs Blackpool tomorrow. I am craving the smell of fresh pasties and hot coffee, the sound of the ball smashing the back of the net, the sound of Goodnight Irene under the roof of the Thatchers terrace, the pain of trying to text my Mum updates through my numb fingers and giving my football friends a big fat 'Happy New Year' cuddle in the clubhouse. For now, I'll continue to scream at the referee from the comfort of my living room. Fingers crossed for a better 2021, we will return one day. I hope everyone remains safe and well. Up the Gas.

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