You know a friend, or even a passing acquaintance, who is a genuine football fan will never take the piss, even in jest, when your team is in trouble. Most of the time, the subject of football will never be discussed between you, when previously it would always be the opening gambit of conversation. There is an innate understanding that "There but for the grace of.....etc" exists between genuine fans, who know that the dividing line between success or failure is often the narrowest of tightropes.
So it was, on the last day of last season when I bought two Cov supporting friends to The Valley to see their inept team ripped to shreds by south London's finest. Discussing football afterwards in the Rose of Denmark was inevitable, given the occasion, but I genuinely felt sorry for them, and was able to pinpoint fairly easily the source of their teams shortcomings that day, namely that the central midfield pairing, with a combined age of near 70 was the weakness that most urgently needed to be addressed.
Last night I gave my season ticket to one of them. If the club want to take it away for my misdemeanour, then quite frankly it would be a mercy killing right now. Hopefully I will be able to catch up with him this weekend, because I will be interested to know what he thinks our problems are from a more objective point of view. He would have had every opportunity to boo the team off last night in safety, but do you know what? - he won't have done. One, because he is a mate, and two, he knows what we are going through right now. Cov survived by one point last season, and that looks positively comfortable compared to where we are right now.