No no, not that church. Being a West Country lass I am at the alter of sport, cider and pasties. I am at Kingsholm for the last match of the season. We get here early, before most of the congregation. We take our place, center front of The Shed. Our normal place, my son has even scratched his name on to the
pew safety barrier. For this graffiti I am sorry Ushers match stewards, but around here Rugby is in the blood and the kids get passionate too.
In about an hour our
choir crowd will be singing proudly as our martyrs squad are named one by one. In fact in genius timing as I’m typing this the vicar PA man is playing Hoozier’s song “take me to church” to the flock. Later we’ve been promised angels RAF Falcons will fall from the sky to bless our pitch and bring the boys the match ball from heaven the clouds.
Honestly, we take it very seriously here. Be at least an hour early for the match or the regulars consider you late. Banter will happen, unlike other contact sports the violence stays on the pitch and even when the banter gets heated it remains civilised. If this was football the fans would be split up for safety. Heckling would lead to fights and we most certainly would not be allowed to have a standing terrace. The Shed is the name of the standing terrace here, and we are known for being the most passionate fans.
You can have a chat with rugby fans from any team when not at Church and say “I’m from The Shed” and get instant respect. Gloucester rugby’s head coach (the boss in the hat) Laurie Fisher even thanked the travelling Shed fans after a recent away game, describing us as “like the extra man on the pitch we needed. It was like a home game miles from home…” I won’t have that quote perfect I’m sure. But we are respected and “loved” by the team, both the players and the support staff that make match days happen.
Sadly today is the last home match of the season… I’m going to feel lost for the next few weekends. At least I’ve got Formula One to watch on the telly. But for now I’ll drink my Communion Coffee and holy Rice Crispy square and pray to the god of the Scrummage (Mike Teague) and the god of making impossible tries (James Simpson-Daniel) that our boys win and no one gets injured.
Come on Glawssssssssssster.