The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.
Today we speak to Tony Cowards. Tony is a comedian and gagsmith and was described by GQ Magazine as “The Pun-osaurus, ‘The best joke writer around’ “ Follow Tony on twitter @tonycowards
What team do you support?
How often to you go to watch your team?
Nowadays very rarely, perhaps once per season, but until about 4 years ago, 10-12 games per season
What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?
My first match was Stowmarket Town vs Ipswich Town, it was a friendly in 1980 to celebrate Stowmarket Town’s new floodlights, Ipswich won 15-0, it’s been downhill ever since!
What do you think of entrance prices at football?
Much too high
What’s your average spend on match days?
Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?
Very rarely, too expensive and generally poor quality
Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?
Absolutely, fans are treated as an ever present commodity, what is being done to ensure that the next generation of fans actually has come connection with the clubs?
Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums?
Yes, if properly regulated. Germany manages to have them in complete safety, I don’t understand why we can’t do the same
Do you play at any level?
I used to play Sunday league level but now, thanks to knee knack and age, I’m limited to the occasional 5-a-side or kick about.
If so what do you think of the cost of playing?
When I play 5-a-side it costs about £4-£5 for 2 hours, which I think is reasonable.
Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?
If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?
Put the FA back in charge of the Premier League and give them some real powers to keep the big clubs in check. The lunatics are now running the asylum.
Favourite moment following your team?
Finally winning the Play offs in May 2000 after 3 years running going out in the semis.
Favourite football moment not featuring your team? England 4-1 Holland, Euro ’96. I was there at Wembley and it was the best atmosphere of any match I’ve ever been to.
If you could have been at any game in history what would it be?
Ipswich Town vs Arsenal, 1978 FA Cup Final
The thing that annoys you most about football?
The fact that everyone, the players, the managers, the pundits, the journalists and the fans take it way too seriously. Chill out, for every winner there will be a loser, no matter how great everyone plays 3 teams WILL get relegated EVERY season, it’s a fact of life, learn to deal with it.
What makes your club so special?
We’re a small provincial club that has a proud history and have provided England’s two most successful managers (Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson).
Anything else you want to say?
Just that no-one seems to actually enjoy football any more, every match is a MUST WIN, managers are constantly on the verge of being sacked, etc. Even when a team wins a trophy they’re not allowed to enjoy it, they have to look forward to the next challenge, the next match, the next season, just take a moment to enjoy your football, even if it’s a wondergoal scored by the opposition.