Who's the Daddy: Warm welcome back to fans
Some days are just glorious, like beating the league leaders at home, in front of a record crowd, in golden sunshine on a bank holiday weekend.
Being part of the crowd at Morecambe’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday made you realise why you fell in love with football in the first place – and just how much the sport has missed its fans. And not just for their ticket money.
We got into the ground a few moments before kick-off, walking through the turnstile just yards from the halfway line to be met by two noisy sets of supporters behind each goal, a pristine rectangle of sun-kissed turf and the players primed and ready for action. Is this what heaven looks like, because it certainly felt like it?
Speaking of sunshine, because of the heat it was at times a struggle for us just to stand and watch, goodness knows what it was like for the players to charge around in for an hour-and-a-half, although pre-season training during a brutal heatwave might’ve given them a taste.
Morecambe often train at the sports centre where I go spinning twice a week, and one mid-July morning with the temperature already pushing 30C, the coaches were laying out cones and hurdles on the pitch ready for what looked like a gruelling session of lung-bursting shuttle runs.
You can generally tell when footballers report for training for the new season without even checking the kitchen calendar – it’s the hottest day of the year. Lancaster does its finest Lanzarote impression.
Whatever physical torture Morecambe’s players went through on that hot, sweaty day – and a few more like that one – worked as they looked fit as butcher’s dogs from kick-off to final whistle.
And while we’re on the subject, spare a thought for the two hardy souls dressed as mascots: Christie the Cat and sponsor Mazuma’s giant mobile phone walking laps of the pitch and waving to the crowd in searing heat.
Those head-to-toe suits may well be toasty in December, but must’ve felt like they were melting in their own personal sauna on a baking August afternoon.