Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
I’ve seen the future and it’s pie-shaped.
It’s not just that I enjoyed the new club pie on Saturday; it’s the symbolism behind it which I found particularly appetising.
For me, being a fan-owned club is far more than just being able to claim you’re a part-owner on your social media bio. It’s an opportunity to carve out an identity for the club. To mark yourself out as special. To show you’re “Més que un club” without resorting to spelling it out on the seats of a stand.
Everyone thinks their club is different, special, better than the others. Of course, they’re wrong. How many fans have you heard singing they support “by far the greatest team the world has ever seen”? And how many of them have any claim to that actually being true?
Yet when the fans take control, they can mould a club’s identity and make it feel like it’s more than just another local club with values which essentially match everybody else’s.
That’s why the choice of a club pie, while apparently trivial, is actually very important.
The club has already stated their hope that our chilli pie, chosen by the fans, can rival the famous “Killie Pie” which Kilmarnock have sold for years. Simply in saying that we separate ourselves from the anonymous corporate identities of most clubs: that’s the sort of thing which fans, steeped in tradition and experienced in long away trips, would say. You come away from matches with memories of goals, pies and chants, not an awareness of the opponents’ successful compliance with their client engagement goals.
It’s something I took away from Brighton after that epic FA Cup tie, when fans of both sides gathered in the concourses after the game to talk it through over the local pies and beer the Albion sold, rather than the frozen food and watery nonsense most clubs offer.
It’s something you can’t help but take away from Kidderminster as well, obviously. What is there which stops the Harriers from being a nondescript non-league side? The soup.
And that’s what it’s all about. Creating goodwill both in a wider sense as football fans take note of us as something beyond the average, and in a smaller sense. The more we rally fans and the local community to see Wrexham AFC as something to cherish, something special, something which contributes to the area, the more support we’ll have when the going gets tough. Right now, that seems very pertinent.
And apart from all that, it was a very good pie too!