As part of CAFE’s #MyMatchday fan interviews, CAFE recently had the pleasure of interviewing Linsey Reid, mother of 27-year-old Robyn, a disabled football fan from Scotland. Linsey told us about her daughter’s love of Scottish Premiership club St Johnstone and why attending live matches is so important to Robyn.

Robyn first fell in love with football aged nine after attending an amateur match with her grandfather. Despite Linsey’s initial concerns that Robyn’s disability might stop her enjoying the matchday experience, Robyn has gone on to be a season ticket holder at McDiarmid Park for the last 12 years.

How long has Robyn been a supporter of St Johnstone?

Robyn’s love of football is mostly down to her late grandfather. I was worried that due to Robyn’s disability, she would not be able to enjoy being at a live football match. However, she really enjoyed the first ever match her grandfather took her to. Afterwards, he told me to take her along to watch St Johnstone as he thought she would love it there. Nearly twenty years on, my dad was definitely right.

Does Robyn attend home and away matches?

Robyn has been a season ticket holder since she was 15. She also goes to as many away matches as she can. I don’t go to certain grounds in Scotland, but if we can get a different companion to accompany her, she will be there.

What does Robyn’s usual matchday routine include?

Robyn’s favourite matches are home games. Everybody at the club, including the players, knows her. Going to McDiarmid Park is her weekly social interaction, where she is just like everybody else who is there – a St Johnstone fan. She always goes to the matchday bar to meet her friends and fellow supporters, and to soak up the atmosphere. Regardless of the team’s performance and result, Robyn will not leave the stadium before full-time.

After the match, Robyn will always sneak out to meet her beloved players at the main gate. She has a great rapport with all the squad.

Robyn also likes going to away matches, because we get to travel on the supporters’ coach. She loves the excitement of being on the coach with all the regular fans. She is a lot more vocal at these games too. No matter what the final score is, she will always be the happiest person on the return journey because she has been to watch her favourite team.

What are Robyn’s favourite memories of being a St Johnstone fan?

Her favourite memory is easily the time we were lucky enough to get tickets to our Europa League game against FK Trakai in 2017. We travelled to Lithuania on the same plane as the team, and Robyn loved interacting with the players. Once we had arrived, Robyn surprised everyone by staying up until 2:30 am in the bar with her fellow supporters.

On the match day, we joined the rest of St Johnstone’s supporters in the town square to sing and have a drink. If the singing started to subside, Robyn would start it up again!

Another memorable day was when St Johnstone won promotion to the Scottish Premiership. I had to stop Robyn from running on to the pitch to celebrate with the players.

Is Robyn valued as a supporter by the club?

Most definitely, yes. Everyone at the club knows Robyn, from the players to the behind the scenes staff. Even our Chairman and his dad know Robyn. The regulars at the bar and on the supporters’ coach are Robyn’s friends, and they all accept her for herself. She completely loves the club and I think they love her too. 

What impact has going to St Johnstone had on Robyn’s life?

Since going to her first match, Robyn has never looked back. She loves going to matches and seeing the friends she has made at the club. When St Johnstone are not playing, she will go and watch Stirling Albion, as her favourite ever player, ex St Johnstone striker Peter MacDonald, now plays for them. Robyn and Peter get on really well. He organises tickets for us and will always come and speak to Robyn. No match day is ever the same, but what always remains the same is that Robyn enjoys them all. 

 

CAFE would like to thank Linsey and Robyn for answering our questions. Their story is a brilliant reminder to everyone how the unique power of football has the ability to change lives, make friendships, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you are a disabled fan, or know a disabled fan who would like to participate in our #MyMatchday interviews, please feel free to contact CAFE’s Fan Liaison, Access and Administration Officer, Amy Wilson, by email on [email protected] or call +44 (0)208065 5108. You can also contact CAFE via Twitter at @cafefootball and Facebook on www.facebook.com/cafefootball