Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fan Appreciation

In his maiden HoR2 rant, Leinster fan Conor Cronin has been disappointed by more than just their results of late…

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I've waited a few days from the event to write this rant. And somehow I'm no less annoyed for having slept on it. In fact I'm pretty sure I'm a bit worse.

I'm a massive Leinster fan. All my friends know this. I'm at every home game, and I really like to get to away games too. I've enjoyed games in the RDS, Thomond, the Rec, and even Twickenham last year. And I have to say, its great to watch the lads when they're winning.

And we all know that it's tough to watch your team lose. No matter the colour of your jersey you have to agree that it hurts to see your team fail.

I was lucky enough that a very thoughtful and wonderful girlfriend bought me tickets to the match in Ravenhill against Ulster. She went to a huge effort, and booked us a hotel for the weekend and on Friday afternoon, with both of us having a day off we headed up.

I love match day, and the atmosphere and the craic with opposition, and Friday was no exception. But it was tough seeing the lads under perform, and come away with nothing from the match.

Sporting my deadly new lion hat, (the other part of my birthday present)  I had taken funny looks all match from the Ulster fans all around me, because, I'll be honest, I'm loud. I like to be heard supporting and I like to think in spite of being so far back the lads could hear me.

I definitely think the standing fans on the terraces could be heard, as they tried to cheer on the team, to start chants of "Leinster" and rounds of "Come on you boys in blue", and "Molly Malone", attempts that I joined in on, but which were so often drowned out by the rowdy home support.

But try we did, all match, to support, to be heard, to let the lads know we were there.

And what did we get in return?

Forget the points, forget the win. All I was looking for at the end of the game was a little acknowledgment. For the lads to come past, and thank us for the effort we had made. In return for our having cheered and applauded theirs.

We got a moment where after applauding the Ulster players in, 3 or four of the lads stepped out, gave two or three claps from the corner and walked back in. While the Ulster supporters stepped out and spent a few minutes thanking fans. And on my way to get a taxi I saw a few doing autographs before their showers.

And it was worse in the Aviva last week, where we didn't even get a few out to say thanks. While the Clermont fans got their team walking out and over to applaud and thank their fans for the effort.

I don't know about anyone else, but between about 50 euro worth of diesel, 38 euro for each ticket, I have no idea what the hotel was even for that night, a couple of beers, this wasn't a cheap trip for me. Even a day in the RDS isn't cheap, whether you account for the cost of an individual ticket, or the share of your season ticket that goes to that particular match, and if you're not drinking, there's still the cost of getting there (bus, or parking etc).

Am I unreasonable to think that the players should acknowledge our support? Is it wrong to think that after spending over 80 minutes shouting for them they could spend 60 seconds making sure we know that even without the result they appreciate it?

If I could have the poor Ulster couple in front of me give out for being so loud, the group behind me tell me I was wasting my time, surely the lads can appreciate that.

If I could stay and keep cheering even after their third try when things look their worst, surely the lads can acknowledge that.

So there it is, my rant. In a nutshell, I spend enough being a supporter, I think it should be acknowledged by the team, especially when we keep cheering in spite of the result.

What response will the fans get on Saturday after the match? Let's hope it's a positive one!

Any thoughts, or comments, please feel free to get me on Twitter, @ccbooms

Conor Cronin is a Leinster fan cursed with a Munster loving father. You'll regularly find him screaming in the north stand in the RDS. When he's not there, try the theatres around Dublin, he might be on stage, or in the off season, Dublin bay on a boat. He likes writing a rant cos in the bio he can talk about himself in the third person without sounding pretentious.

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