Yesterday's drawn game at Rugby seems to have done more for convincing us that the Poppies are still OUR club than any number of scrappy wins, club take-overs and new dawns. But why? Why this one game in particular? Why this draw rather than last week's 5-1 win for example?
The reasons would be obvious to anyone who was there. A big away following at a ground that actually looked like the type of stadium we're more used to being in. The throaty roar of Poppies fans cheering their team in unison, whether they be the kind of fan who shouts every Saturday, through to those who generally keep their passion in check. The sense of painful injustice that we were to get nothing from a game we'd dominated, alleviated in a flash by a thumping equaliser late into stoppage time. And if our last opportunity moments later had flown in too, well, most of us would have greeted Sunday morning waking up in downtown Rugby somewhere.
For the first time in a couple of years I felt a real sense yesterday that 500 gates, no real terracing to speak of, and playing in this lowly division, though necessary now, isn't perhaps all we had to look forward to. A false dawn perhaps, but time will tell. We pretty much have to carry on this unbeaten run until April to get into the play-offs, but yesterday showed that if any Poppies team and support give it their all, we can still be a force to be reckoned with.
The team at times yesterday were a revelation, with plenty of heart and talent, helped in no small part by playing on a flat pitch for a change. Their reaction at the goal, and at full time was a joy to see. And we supporters need to remember, just because we recall sizeable and even occasional huge away support for the Poppies, that these players probably haven't encountered this sort of thing before. Indeed Dubi spent most of the game with a perplexed look of amusement on his face at the sight of us. Mostly down to the unlikely physical specimens he was looking at, but hopefully at least partly down to being impressed with the level of support for a team in this division.
Now lads, by all means beat Redditch in the pointlessly pointless Reading Shore Cup, and we'll see you again next Saturday!