This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a very special get together. Despite the team folding some 2 years ago now, 40+ members of the Phoenix Family gathered at Burnage Sports Club to celebrate Christmas, and our ongoing bond of family with each other.
Those of us who stayed with the Phoenix to the bitter end were a tight knit bunch. We travelled to Deeside, Blackpool, and Widnes together. Many of us had been there since day 1, helping the club where we could, attending games, events, the play off finals, pretty much anything the Phoenix put it’s name to. Now, to some we were a “brainwashed” cult who worshipped Neil Morris. But believe you me, there were (and are) plenty in the Phoenix Family who have precious little love for Neil. It was the club that people loved. It was the guys on the ice, from imports such as Brett Clouthier, to our own “homegrown hero” Ben Wood. It was each other. The camaraderie was, and remains, palpable.
Over 40 of us descended on a suburban sports club function room on a soaking wet Saturday night (I spent around £50 on taxi fares to be able to attend), just to see old friends and catch up. It was wonderful to see people such as Jim “Tambo” Piper, Russ, Caz, Ange, Brenda, Nathan, Stuart, and the immortal Mags & Dave (who truly were the beating heart of the Phoenix) once again.
As I told a fair few people at the do, I don’t really miss the hockey (the last 2 seasons really took it out of me, mentally and physically), but I sure as hell do miss the people. I’ve laughed and cried with these people. I’ve drunk and been drunk with them. I sang, shouted, and cheered with them. I’ve had the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows with them. And I love each and every one of them.
I’ve never witnessed such a closeness between fans before the Phoenix, and I doubt I’ll ever witness it again. The Phoenix Family was special. And I’m proud to be a part of it. PTID.