Five magical things about going to a League Two football game

The Premier League has never been better but you’re too cheap to go to their matches. Here’s what you’re getting by supporting a shit League Two team instead.

Grim location

Instead of a convenient location outside the city which has its own dedicated transport links, you get a tumbledown shithole wedged between a sewage works and a railway depot. There’s no car park so you pay a local kid wearing his dad’s Stone Island jacket a tenner to keep an eye on your Renault for a couple of hours, only to return to find both him and the hubcaps gone.

Awful stadium

Premier League teams have comfortable state-of-the-art stadiums but being able to perch on a broken plastic seat with an obstructed view is the height of luxury at a League Two game. On top of that, the stand is essentially a corrugated metal warehouse missing a side which feels like it will fall down in a stiff wind. With any luck you’ll get stuck in the temperamental turnstiles which are originals from when the ground opened in 1906 and miss the first half.

Lack of fans

Barely anyone bothers to go to the games, so there’s no atmosphere and the whole club is just an excuse for local men to get out of the house for a few hours at the weekend. Your team is too shit even for a Ryan Reynolds-type character to snap it up for a few quid and turn it into a curiosity. On the plus side, no fans means you don’t have to queue for a piss after necking five pints at the dodgy pub next to the ground before the game.

Terrible half-time food

It’s a world away from the fancy pizzas and lamb burgers served at Old Trafford or The Emirates. Here, the height of culinary sophistication is going for the chicken balti pie over the mince and onion, and it’s all served from a single kiosk, at a snail’s pace, by a woman called Brenda. If you fancy a drink, you can have a pint of Carling or a can of Tizer. Or you can get stuffed.

Surprising expense

Given the inferior product you’re getting, you’d think it would be incredibly cheap. But you’d be wrong. For the pleasure of watching a bunch of lads with dodgy sleeve tattoos and pending court cases run around for 90 boring minutes, you’re still paying over £20 a ticket. You could get a Sky Sports subscription for less than that, and have a much better time.

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The parent's guide to giving up and just bribing your bastard kids

YOU once believed your kids would do what you asked without having to promise them all manner of shit first. Here’s what happens instead.

You occasionally try not to

You may periodically kid yourself that other parenting methods work. In which case, go ahead and see what happens when you try to get your teenager to dress smartly for their cousin’s wedding without promising them some AirPods first. When they’re lining up for the family photos in ripped jeans and a Call of Duty t-shirt, you’ll realise the truth.

You pretend it’s a last resort

Tell yourself you’re only bribing your children as a last resort by muttering a half-hearted ‘Carrots are healthy’ before swiftly adding ‘and if you eat them all you can have some ice cream’. They will refuse to eat the vegetables and demand the Ben & Jerry’s immediately, but what can you do? You did try.

You convince yourself it’s normal

Seek reassurance about your complete lack of parenting skills by telling yourself that other families resort to the same low tricks as you. Other toddlers do seem capable of eating a single sprig of broccoli without the promise of four straight hours of Paw Patrol as a reward, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors? Unashamed bribery, you fervently hope.

You tell yourself it’s a survival skill

Your bribery is teaching your children valuable life lessons. In the future, when they are attempting to find food in the flooded ruins of their home town after the latest climate catastrophe, they’ll need the excellent bartering skills you have instilled in them by agreeing they can eat a whole tube of Smarties if they have a bath. It will end up saving their lives.

You know they’re f**ked anyway

This is the age of social media. If you don’t mess your kids up with a bit of questionable parenting, TikTok and Instagram are going to crap all over their psyches anyway. What difference is promising they can play Playstation until midnight if they finish their maths homework going to make in the grand scheme of things? None.