I took Phoebe to a birthday party this afternoon. I am so used to having to endure birthday parties on a Saturday afternoon that I hadn’t even considered the fact that I wouldn’t have to stay. It turned out that it was a drop off party. But I didn’t realise until it was sort of too late. I thought I was the first parent to arrive and had sat down, but by the time two other parents had turned up and left it was a bit too late to reverse the decision. Plus there was people setting up to do an exotic animals/insects show which I didn’t want to miss. Plus the party was only two hours long and it was half an hour drive to get there. It wasn’t worth going home and then coming back. I guess I could have gone to a cafe and read a book. But I hadn’t brought a book (or any headphones or a computer). I stayed. Only one other parent did the same. When Phoebe noticed that most parents had gone she wondered why I was still here. It was now too late to go anywhere though. It was nice sitting in a garden in the sunshine looking at snakes and millipedes though. And two hours is the ideal party time. But man, it’s good to be at the point where parents don’t have to be at birthday parties. That is, until it’s our turn to host the parties.
We left at 3pm and I was keen to listen along to York City’s attempt to finally exit the cursed National League North. I managed to get BBC Radio York on my phone and listened via the car’s entertainment system. I suspected that it would be a disappointing result as York like nothing better than to give their fans some hope before crushing those dreams. So even when York scored on five minutes, as delighted as that made me, I feared that that was a lot of time to wait for Boston to equalise and then win on penalties.
Once we were home, we were having friends round and a party of our own and I wasn’t able to listen any more (without seeming pretty rude) and so instead (pretty rudely) kept checking my phone for updates, awaiting the inevitable equaliser. Instead, I had the shock of seeing that York had scored again. 2-0 up with just five minutes to go. It was possible this could just be an extra bit of hope so that the defeat would be even more crushing, but I had to start believing that the team were finally getting out. Unfairly as Hell. They were over twenty points behind the team that had come in second place at the end of the season, who had beaten us twice (though crucially lost to us in the play-off semi final) and had also lost twice to Boston (again Boston not realising that the important match to win was this one).
I couldn’t quite process it, but it was happening. The match ended and just as Sybil had predicted, York won 2-0. They were going up to the National League, a division that I would have given anything for us to get out of six or seven years ago (and then the genie I’d made that wish for, made it come true, by getting York relegated). Maybe next season York will be relegated again, but hopefully that is the last time we’ll be in that shithouse league. And maybe, we can dream, we can get into the actual proper non-non league league again.
For now though I was filled with a disbelieving relief. As someone else pointed out this makes York no longer the worst professional football team in the world (the national league north is made up of mainly amateur sides) and next season we will be playing Oldham, a founding club of the Premier League and some other teams you might actually have heard of.
It has been worth the consecutive relegations and five seasons of languishing in this quagmire to finally escape. People who support successful clubs have no idea about what being a football fan is all about.