Who Are Ya? - Cheltenham Town
How Long Have You Supported Cheltenham Town?
Almost 20 years. I was born in Boston, grew up in Stickford on the A16 and totally regard myself as a Yellowbelly - although I left when I was 18 cos I didn't see a career option for me in the county. A few years after arriving in Cheltenham, my then-girlfriend took me to a match in the days just as our rise from the Southern League all the way to League 1 was starting. I loved the banter with the opposing fans (and players!) and the kerb-level humour on the terrace and stayed.
Last Season's League Finish?
Extremely disappointing and only just outside the drop-zone. I'd much rather tell you about the previous season!
What Do You Think Of Your Manager?
One of the best lower-league managers in the business. Gary Johnson has a proven track-record with the likes of Bristol City, Yeovil and now us.
Hopes/Expectations This Season?
Mid-table mediocrity, unfortunately. We've improved the squad from last season's awful campaign - but I reckon we're still three, maybe four first-teamers short. Like you, if we put a good run together, we maybe have an outside shot at the play-offs - but I doubt it.
One(s) To Watch?
Our midfield. In particular, Dawson, Sellars and Morrell. They're class. If only we had that level of class in the remaining positions...
Top Seven Predictions?
Luton, Notts County, Coventry, Swindon, Stevenage, Grimsby (though it pains me to say it) and Exeter.
Bottom Two Predictions?
Forest Green (pleeeeeeeeaaaase!!!) and Morecambe.
Thoughts on Lincoln City?
Big team, quality management. You'll be there or thereabouts - and you might just sneak a play-off place.
1-0 to Chelters. Two losses on the bounce and Gary will be seething about that. Can't see him allowing a third, sorry.
Random Fact About Your Club?
Hey! Cheltenham has a football club! Not a lot of people know that - they always mention the horse racing or GCHQ, but never us. Oh, alright then...we once kinda forgot to enter the FA Cup. Sometime in the 70's, I think. Someone didn't fill in a form and we looked very stupid as a result..
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Cheltenham Town Supporter?
The proudest moment has to be 3-2 injury-time win over Yeovil to seal promotion to the Football League back in 1999. What. A. Night.
Most embarrassing? Not sure, really. It would be easy to pick out recent FA Cup defeats against Tamworth and Sutton, but that would be disingenuous towards those teams who frankly played better than us on the day. Maybe the debacle at the club that saw us relegated back to the Conference three years ago having seen four different managers.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
We do. A very active trust, in fact, with a Fan-Elected Director on the Board of the Club. I firmly believe it's something the Club supports.
Which was your favourite match involving Cheltenham Town?
Easy: away to Rushden & Diamonds at Nene Park, April 1999. They were hot on our tail in the Conference that season - and that match was rightly being hyped up as the title decider. In front of a packed and passionate travelling army, having conceded early on, the scoreboard read 1-0 as we reached the 90th minute. First one, then a second, injury-time goal turned the match on its head and sent us wild! Never sung for so long, so loud, as I did in that match. R&D tried to buy their way to success, paying salaries that we couldn't possibly compete against. Look what happened to them the moment Max Griggs pulled the plug on the funding.
Which was your least favourite match involving Cheltenham Town?
Any time that I've felt the 11 on the pitch have not been giving 100%, I guess - and there's been a few of those, unfortunately.
How good was John Finnigan during his time with Cheltenham? Was he as highly regarded there as he was here?
I think he polarised opinion at first. He was brought in after the legendary Archie Howells broke his leg at the ploughed field that is the Memorial Ground, Bristol - at a time that, let's face it, you guys needed to off-load some players to make ends meet. I don't recall how much we paid you but, whatever it was, it was probably a steal. As time went on, he really grew into a fan's favourite and, by the end, deserved the 'Legend' accolade now afforded to him. His best match was during the 2-0 defeat by Newcastle, Shearer and all, where he was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch and didn't deserve to be on the losing side. He's now Commercial Manager at the Club and hasn't gotten any taller.
Has Kyle Storer lost any of his bite since the teams last met?
Yea, sorry about that. I can't even imagine why that happened. Rightly punished for it, too. He's struggled a bit to make the step up to the League - but he's just about hanging in there.
Enjoy your visit to Cheltenham! Although, I do hope you have a miserable journey home thinking about what could have been.