How to avoid a heart attack…

Australian-based Town fan Steve Hall nearly had a heart attack watching the 5-5 draw…

I’ll keep it brief. There are many ways to avoid a heart attack but I’m focusing on one very specific tactic – one that only applies to a relatively small group of people.

If you don’t want to have a heart attack, under no circumstances support Swindon Town!

So far I’ve managed to avoid having a coronary, in spite of 52 years as a Swindon supporter, but this almost changed on Monday.

After 110 minutes of play in the League One play-offs, Swindon were 5-1 ahead and comfortably bound to a Wembley showdown with Preston North End to see who gets promoted to the Championship next year.

This is no small deal. Swindon hasn’t been in the Championship for 15 years and has only ever played at Wembley 6 times in 100 years, so it matters a lot to us tragics. And thanks to the power of Pay TV I was watching the lads thrashing Sheffield United. Or so I thought.

We’d won 2-1 in Sheffield in the first leg and had scored three goals in the first 18 minutes in the second leg at Swindon. We were rampant.

Then it all went rugby ball shaped.

United scored – an own goal by our captain. But hey, we’re still three goals up. Then another from Sheffield – 3-2 up at home, but still a reasonably comfortable 5-3 on aggregate.

It was even better when Mike Smith smashed home a penalty to make it 6-3 overall. Then another for Sheffield. Then another for us.

With five minutes to go we were still winning 7-4 overall but I’ve seen enough last minute surprises to know anything can happen. And it did. With four minutes to go Sheffield scored again. And again in the last minute. Surely we couldn’t throw it away? Could we?

So it’s the last minute, it’s 5-5 today and 7-6 overall. The game’s almost over – isn’t it? No, it isn’t – the timekeeper signaled 7 minutes of injury time.

I’m sure I paced a couple of miles up and down my lounge room during those seven minutes hanging out for the final whistle. Finally, mercifully, it came after what seemed like hours and we hung on to win.

If you want a nice, quiet, safe life take up base jumping or volunteer in a field hospital treating Ebola patients. Don’t support Swindon.

Still, it’s better than losing. Wembley (and the Championship hopefully) here we come.

Steve Hall is an unashamed seeker of fame. In addition to having supported the world’s most glamorous football (soccer) club, Swindon Town since September 1963, he also supports his home town team, the almost as famous Hartlepool United. He knows you don’t care a whit for this but he doesn’t care that you don’t care – he loves both teams with a passion.

If you like this article you’re probably brain damaged but please hit the “like” button anyway. And be sure to watch out for the result of Swindon vs Preston at Wembley on May 24th.

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