A veteran supporter of Mannington City FC reaches a milestone today as he clocks up 95 years of attendance at the Hornimint Stadium. Mankell Biltong  has supported the side since childhood, witnessing the highs and lows of relegation [24 times] promotion [24 times] and numerous humiliating defeats alongside [more recently] Cup and League winning runs - many of the latter coming as a direct result of heavy investment by new owners The Abbott Denby Football Group. [See Gayle Cliché  "We Left Nothing In the Dressing Room and Everything on the Park: A Funny Old Game of Two Halves" [Threadbone Press]]
Friends and fellow supporters Doris and Arnold Terrace are planning a surprise party for Mankell, though care home workers are unclear whether he will be in a mood to attend. "The trouble is, there's a tricky game against Evershot on the day of the party and if that goes pear-shaped it will be doom and gloom all round ... and doom and gloom and party celebration just don't go". "If it's anything like the defeat to Nottington a few weeks back he probably won't even come out of his room" says long-time carer and defeat-syndrome-by-proxy sufferer Lydia. "He can be a right grumpy bastard when he's a mind to ... and boy can he can sulk - sometimes for days on end", she added, remembered pain etched on her every feature.
Dorset Casino outlets are currently offering decent odds on a Mannington victory given Evershot's poor home form, but as every Mannington supporter knows, Evershot are "something of a bogey team" [nickname "The Snotties"] and Mankell admits he's worried. "I'm worried", he says "as every Mannington supporter knows, Evershot are "something of a bogey team" '.
So, looking back on 95 years, what are the highlights? "Beating Todber United 5-0 at their place ... Lifting the Dorset Premiere League Trophy the first time round [beating Todber on goal difference] and having a damned good turn out last week. I'd been corked for days. Mind you, it was like playing Hamlet: a very hard piece."