This season I have an analytic commitment to follow a Division Two football team. It has been fascinating to return to the Division and note the data available (link).
I first met Division Two and its equivalents in the late 1950s as a very young supporter of my local team, Wrexham (link). My home town, Buckley, was linked to Wrexham by diesel train. Each home game the train picked up supporters en route and dropped them near the Racecourse ground.
At the time I supported the team they were in the old Fourth Division of the league and were struggling. Despite this there was a vocal and optimistic support for what everyone thought was a local team.
Wikipedia notes of that time:
But their performances did improve following the appointment of Ken Barnes as player-manager. He led Wrexham straight back to promotion to the third division in his first season in charge and oversaw the 10–1 trouncing of Hartlepool United, which is still the club’s record league victory.
I was at the Hartlepool game in March 1962. It was the first time I had seen so many goals scored at one game.
I did continue to support Wrexham throughout the 1960s. I waited after each game to collect autographs and then scramble back for the last train home.
These memories have been brought back as I look at data from 2018-2019. They remind me of the importance of a local team supported by vocal local supporters.
Wales versus Ireland football international at Wrexham (The National Library of Wales, no known copyright restrictions)
Wrexham to Bidston line (Deeside.com)