Now you're going to believe us

Gazette Series: FGR fan John Light has his say FGR fan John Light has his say

THERE is a football chant, often uttered in hope rather than certainty. It begins ‘and now you’re going to believe us’ and I have found myself uttering it ever since 5pm on Saturday. It ends ‘now we’re going to win the league’.

After watching Forest Green win at Macclesfield on Saturday I believe this can happen.

In an outstanding game FGR smashed Macclesfield’s 100 per cent home record (4 wins, goals for 8, against 1), by winning a fine open contest 2-1.

On a first class playing surface both teams played open attacking football, anxious to entertain and, of course, anxious to win the game.

There was no time wasting, no playing for a draw, no ‘we have come to get a result’ mentality. Someone should tell football folk that phrase is ridiculous because win, draw or defeat are all results. Too often this silly phrase means we have come to grind out a draw. This attitude bores us all.

None of that on Saturday. It was end-to-end football, and perhaps the best performance I have seen from FGR.

With exciting players like Klukowski and Norwood not fully fit and Reece Styche on the bench, I feared the worst. Instead we got the best. Picking a man of the match was impossible – all the players were candidates.

Newcomer Stephen Brogan, looking every inch a footballer started the move, and then finished it. A surprise, but welcome signing his foot balling skills may be the missing link.

This match was the sort we would love to see every week. Played in good weather on a good pitch both sides tried to win by playing open attractive football. It was splendid entertainments, but there were some sour off the field moments.

The recent Hillsborough report has shown the true dignity of soccer fans, but we all know there is still a lunatic fringe.

To chant ‘cheat – cheat’ as Kieron Forbes was carried off on a stretches is indefensible. I cannot repeat in this newspaper some of the individual insults hurled at Rovers players. After the winning goal one spectator advanced towards James Norwood. He certainly was not going to congratulate him on his haircut. Nothing James or the other watching FGR players had done anything noticeable to provoke such action. Being just a few feet away I had a good view.

Prompt action by stewards removed this gentleman from the ground, but could do nothing to prevent the vicious invective directed at the FGR players at the end of the game.

The majority of our fans were in a different stand and experienced a warm Macclesfield welcome, much more typical of the club.

As the coach left rural Cheshire the sun was setting . By the time we reached the hills of the West Midlands (Clee, Clent and Malvern) the sky was flowing red, like the embers of a warm fire. It mirrored my mood – one of genuine delight in watching a club I love play so well.

On Friday night, Lincoln City visit the New Lawn. I anticipate the season’s largest crowd.

Comments (1)

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10:28am Tue 25 Sep 12

Chrisgump11 says...

Spot on John. In my opinion, the best sustained performance by Rovers for several years. During the first 20 minutes, the passing and movement was breathtaking. Macclesfield looked sharp up front, but only a fluke mix up earned them a goal. The game as a whole was compelling and very high quality.

John, you cite some crass behaviour by an element of the Macclesfield support in the 'old' stand. The FGR Fans Forum tells more but this deserves a fuller airing:

However hard working, Kissock was an accident waiting to happen. An aggressive all-action midfielder who seemed to get angry and frustrated the more Rovers passed the ball around him. He was rightly booked for the most comical of penalty dives. 10 minutes later he was late with a studs-in lunge on the magnificent Chris Stokes. We feared a bad ankle injury but fortunately he shook it off after a few minutes of treatment. Unaccountably, having given the foul, the referee didn't even speak to Kissock for what should have been a straight red card. A carbon-copy foul early in the second half, again on Stokes, saw his dismissal. He had been on the pitch 20 minutes too long.

A dozen or so Macclesfield supporters in front of the seats section of the stand and near the press and players seats at the rear of the stand used the initial Kissock booking to start a match-long stream of foul vitriol and aggressive gestures aimed at FGR supporters and squad players in the stand. Chris Stokes was the victim on the pitch, Kissock's first half assault leaving him prone in front of the louts section.

Close to the end of the game, Kieron Forbes went down under a challenge in the penalty area - we thought it was a penalty but in fairness the defender might have got a piece of the ball. Forbes though was injured - we think his leg was cramped - and had to be stretchered off. (Incidentally, such was the pace of the game that several players on both sides (Stokes and Collins among them) were also suffering with cramp towards the end) Like Stokes, he was lain close to the louts section and was booed and sworn at for minutes until he was born on the stretcher out of sight down the tunnel.

Never before have I witnessed such appalling fan behaviour in a Conference match or felt so intimidated.

I have to say that this was out of keeping with what is a small and hospitable club whose fans have a pretty good reputation. But it was disappointing that neither Stewards nor Officials made efforts to stop the louts even though this was all happening under their noses and in full view. The fan ejected in fact re-appeared shortly after.

Clubs with a bigger following than FGR may be less forgiving? I hope that after the event, Macclesfield make efforts to prevent a recurrence. Truth is, Macclesfield is more 'greater Manchester than rural Cheshire.

Brogan's late goal was the product of a tremendous passing movement that he started and was the perfect unanswerable repost to the louts. Hopefully, the squad depth will ensure that, even with exhausted players, the team performs as well tonight at Hereford and Friday night at home to Lincoln City - just the 3 games in 6 days!
Spot on John. In my opinion, the best sustained performance by Rovers for several years. During the first 20 minutes, the passing and movement was breathtaking. Macclesfield looked sharp up front, but only a fluke mix up earned them a goal. The game as a whole was compelling and very high quality. John, you cite some crass behaviour by an element of the Macclesfield support in the 'old' stand. The FGR Fans Forum tells more but this deserves a fuller airing: However hard working, Kissock was an accident waiting to happen. An aggressive all-action midfielder who seemed to get angry and frustrated the more Rovers passed the ball around him. He was rightly booked for the most comical of penalty dives. 10 minutes later he was late with a studs-in lunge on the magnificent Chris Stokes. We feared a bad ankle injury but fortunately he shook it off after a few minutes of treatment. Unaccountably, having given the foul, the referee didn't even speak to Kissock for what should have been a straight red card. A carbon-copy foul early in the second half, again on Stokes, saw his dismissal. He had been on the pitch 20 minutes too long. A dozen or so Macclesfield supporters in front of the seats section of the stand and near the press and players seats at the rear of the stand used the initial Kissock booking to start a match-long stream of foul vitriol and aggressive gestures aimed at FGR supporters and squad players in the stand. Chris Stokes was the victim on the pitch, Kissock's first half assault leaving him prone in front of the louts section. Close to the end of the game, Kieron Forbes went down under a challenge in the penalty area - we thought it was a penalty but in fairness the defender might have got a piece of the ball. Forbes though was injured - we think his leg was cramped - and had to be stretchered off. (Incidentally, such was the pace of the game that several players on both sides (Stokes and Collins among them) were also suffering with cramp towards the end) Like Stokes, he was lain close to the louts section and was booed and sworn at for minutes until he was born on the stretcher out of sight down the tunnel. Never before have I witnessed such appalling fan behaviour in a Conference match or felt so intimidated. I have to say that this was out of keeping with what is a small and hospitable club whose fans have a pretty good reputation. But it was disappointing that neither Stewards nor Officials made efforts to stop the louts even though this was all happening under their noses and in full view. The fan ejected in fact re-appeared shortly after. Clubs with a bigger following than FGR may be less forgiving? I hope that after the event, Macclesfield make efforts to prevent a recurrence. Truth is, Macclesfield is more 'greater Manchester than rural Cheshire. Brogan's late goal was the product of a tremendous passing movement that he started and was the perfect unanswerable repost to the louts. Hopefully, the squad depth will ensure that, even with exhausted players, the team performs as well tonight at Hereford and Friday night at home to Lincoln City - just the 3 games in 6 days! Chrisgump11
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