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Bristol Vs Sale

My father was a proud Northerner. He was born just outside Manchester and was an ardent Manchester United fan. He would go and stand in the Stretford End at Old Trafford each week and cheer on Charlton, Macari, Edwards, Best and the like with his Bovril in one hand and a Hollands Pie in the other. He was an architect by trade working for Timpson’s the shoe repairers at the time designing their shop interiors, some of which still exist today.

He headed south in 1970, he joined the local council so he could stretch his architectural wings and in his time designed several housing developments, council buildings, civic buildings and on one occasion, a set of public conveniences. He missed the North, so we were often travelling up the M6 back to visit family and to fill in the gaps he’d watch Coronation Street.

It was during one of the Downs Family expeditions that I went to Sale for the first time. I don’t remember much about it as I was still a colt, but what I do remember was the giant sweet shop. They had EVERY sweet you could imagine, a young boys absolute dream! I could have had a quarter of dolly mixtures, cola bottles, strawberry bon bons, but what did I insist on Dad buying me? A quarter of Mint Imperials were funnelled from the shiny silver scoop into the white paper bag and twisted at each corner in what looked like a magic trick by the old-fashioned shopkeeper who threw me a puzzled look and said in his thick Sale accent  ‘Well I’ve never ‘ad a young lad go cock-a-hoop for mint balls, good on ya lad for sticking to your guns’.

He said it with such warm intonation, an approval of being a bit different and going against the norm. Whenever I’m faced with those sorts of choices in life, either go with the flow and take the easy option, or make a difficult decision which may feel controversial or upset people at first, but with greater reward later, I always think of that Shopkeeper in Sale.

I think the same is true of our boys at the moment. Keeping the faith and having the ability to believe in themselves, their coaches and their teammates in what must be immensely difficult times. Supporting each other when others may be quick to judge. I’ve seen several fans calling for Robbo’s resignation for example.  If there’s one thing I feel when I’m around the club recording content for Sam Rock’s Rugby or our World of Sport shows for Sam FM, it’s that everyone involved have such a strong team spirit.

I am absolutely convinced that everyone is digging deep and throwing everything they have in the tank to succeed, so as supporters perhaps we ought to take a lesson from the old shopkeeper and trust that the players, coaches and management team are all making the decisions that are right for them.

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