Supporting role: A Wingate & Finchley fan discusses his highs and lows

Wingate & Finchley fan Tom Salinger (second from right) with Eric Hall, Barry Fry and Ron Atkinson

Wingate & Finchley fan Tom Salinger (second from right) with Eric Hall, Barry Fry and Ron Atkinson - Credit: Archant

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, East Finchley’s Tom Salinger reveals his favourite player, his most memorable match and the worst moment he has experienced following Wingate & Finchley.

WHY WINGATE? I was a Barnet fan but they moved to Harrow in the 2013-14 season and I felt it was right for me to stick with a club playing in the borough of Barnet.

Living in East Finchley, Wingate are my local team and I only missed three games in all competitions, home and away, last season. I’ve only missed three so far this season and I’m not planning to miss any more. For me it’s about supporting a team based on where I live, not by name – football is a live sport, not a TV show.

FURTHEST AWAY TRIP: Bognor Regis earlier this year, in April. I was the away support and we lost 6-0, as well as missing a penalty!

FAVOURITE PLAYER: Marc Weatherstone – he wasn’t just a footballer but a friend. He turned up to my 30th birthday party at the ground and also attended a supporter’s wedding in the summer.

FAVOURITE MANAGER: Simon Lane – he was a manager that played decent football and he was happy to talk to supporters before and after a game.

FAVOURITE GAME: Lowestoft Town at home in 2013 when we won 3-2 and stayed up. The celebrations that night were the best I’ve ever taken part in. There was a real connection between the fans and players which you don’t get in the Premier League.

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BEST GOAL: David Laird’s lob at Canvey Island was similiar to Glenn Hoddle’s for Spurs at Watford.

FUNNIEST MOMENT: We went to Bognor once in 80s-themed fancy dress and one of our fans wore a blond wig. He went to the toilet in the second half and we sang “You’re just a fat Bonnie Tyler” towards him – a nickname that has stuck ever since.

ANY PRE OR POST-MATCH TRADITIONS? I arrive early, watch the early game and have a diet coke while I read the programme and wait for the other supporters to arrive. I also write down the teams – and I always offer the opposition keeper a book, especially if it’s one that won’t be too busy.