Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | Greenock Morton

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 Andrew Ward. Andrew is an official columnist for his favourite club and is the founder of #ZwolleAndMortonUnited & #FamousRyanCampbellQuotes .  Follow Andrew on twitter @andrewward74

What team do you support? – Greenock Morton

How often to you go to watch your team? – Every week. Home or away, I’ll be there.

What’s your first memory of “going to the football”? – Earliest memory would be heading off to the football with my dad, aged 7. I always remember the excitement of heading to the ground early, standing in our usual place in the Cowshed and reading the match day programme.

What do you think of entrance prices at football? – At Morton, they are quite reasonable. In actual fact, they were recently awarded with the ‘best value for an away day’ award which speaks for itself. However, there are certain grounds – Falkirk being the main one that springs to mine – that charge ridiculous prices. I was charged £18 in to see a SFL1 match and furthermore, was charged £3.50 for a steak pie at the same ground. They wonder why Scottish Football is dying on their feet – there is your answer.

What’s your average spend on match days? – Home game: £10, roughly. I pay £5 at the turnstile, followed by £2 for a programme and around £1.50 for a pie. The odd 50/50 now and again.

Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not? – Yes, on a regular basis. During pre-season, I would buy both the home, and away, tops and usually a new scarf. I also recently bought my godson his first Morton strip. I feel it’s important that we support our local club, and one way of doing this is through the club merchandise. Small clubs like Morton will never earn the same income as the Celtic and Rangers of Scotland – merchandise is key.

Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans? – If you asked me a week ago, I would have said no. However, recently, the club are making strides. They have created their own Twitter page and have introduced a ‘Mini Morton’ which is a new youth setup for the junior footballers of Greenock to really learn about not only football, but about their local club. There is still more they could do, however.

Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums? – Without a doubt. We, at Morton, are one of the very few clubs in the Scottish First Division that still have terracing in most sections of the stadium. Terracing generates an atmosphere that cannot be matched with fully seated stadiums. If “safe standing” was introduced to the SPl, I can guarantee you that atmosphere and attendances would rocket up. You only have to look at the German league and the terracing they have there – it works perfectly.

Do you play at any level? – I played for a local club in Greenock for a number of years. I “retired” at the end of lasts season to focus more on my academical studies but still play 7’s on a regular basis.

If so what do you think of the cost of playing? – It depends, really. If you want the top branded football boots and shin pads to play in, then the cost could be quite substantial. However, there is much cheaper, and just as good quality, boots out there which would save you a load of money.

Do you or would you consider coaching at any level? – Yes. Watching Scottish Football is pretty dire at the minute so we need to change that, starting with the coaching at grass root level. If I could help change that, I would.

If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be? – Financial fair play, probably. No club can spend more than 50% of their total income on player’s salary, therefore reducing the risk of administration and liquidation etc.

Favourite moment following your team? –I’ve had a few great moments in my time of supporting Morton, with the best one potentially going to occur this season *touches wood*. So far, I would have said the 1-0 win over Peterhead to secure our place back in the Second Division after years of complete turmoil but I can’t remember the day all that well. Therefore, I would have to say the 4-3 win away to Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup. Heading to a strong SPL side, in their own back yard, with absolutely no hope, finding yourself 2-0, before being pegged back and being taken to extra time, and then falling 3-2 behind, before storming back to win 4-3. Quite simply madness.

Favourite football moment not featuring your team? – Ermm: most people will agree when I say the Auguero goal against QPR last season. Winning the Premier League with literally the last kick of the season was something quite special. Even I, who have no connection with Manchester City Football Club, was pretty shook up after that goal. “Unbelievable Jeff.”

If you could have been at any game in history what would it be? – 1922 – Morton winning the Scottish Cup in front of 75000 supporters against the late deceased, Glasgow Rangers.

The thing that annoys you most about football? – Modern football in general. How clubs could be denied access to the top flight of Scottish football because their stadium isn’t fully seated, despite the fact they earned the right to play against the elite of Scottish football; and how much money below average players are now being paid; how footballers feel they are bigger than the club they play for. In Scotland, the most frustrating thing would be the amount of OF supporters there is. It sickens me heading to Cappielow on a Saturday and seeing 7/8 bus loads of Celtic and Rangers fans heading off to Glasgow, instead of supporting their local club.

What do you think of the transfer window? Should it stay or should clubs be allowed to buy at any point of the season? – M clubs in Scotland very rarely do any business in January and if they do, it’ll be a free transfer or a loan which can be done past the set deadline. However, if they are going to make a deal where money will be transferred, it should be only during the set dates. You have to build a team strong enough to withstand the season ahead and if you don’t, you have to deal with that.

What do you think of the proposed 12-12-18 Scottish League reconstruction plans? – It’s not the right way forward for Scottish Football, in the long term. It does have its benefits though: Scottish Football will finally have one governing body; money will be distributed more evenly to smaller clubs, helping clubs financially; and lastly, it’s not the current set-up which is a complete disaster. Overall, there are better ideas out there which fans have mentioned but the SFA have, and never have, listened to the fans.

Whats the best bit of “banter” you’ve heard or seen at a football game? – “You’re a fucking… aye, that’s right, you are a fucking…” – Crazy Morton fan at Morton v Cowdenbeath

Leigh Griffiths being stretchered off after a tackle outside the box, then running back on the park, takes the free-kick and scores it, before running and sliding in front of the Morton fans. I never found it banter at the time but know that I look back on it; he only did it for the wind up.

What makes your club so special? – We were hours away from our deaths only a number of years ago and, to this day, we are still going strong. We are closing in on a return to the SPL after many years of battling through the Scottish football leagues. A truly incredible rise for a club that were mere hours away from death, not too long ago.

Living proof that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said “all men are created equal” although considering Thomas Jefferson also said an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000 why should anyone listen to him? Bryan has a passion for Celtic, a love of football and a tendency to make completely absurd statements in such a way that you might actually agree with them. Follow on twitter @bryanmcmanus

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