A modest proposal

Let's have insurance against the things that footie throws at us

You probably haven't got your copy handy, so let me remind you of a paragraph in Grimsby Town's programme for their home game against Sheffield United on 17 November 1956: "The Supporters' Accident Policy for Supporters' Club Members has been raised to cover 30,000, so it behoves any Town follower, who is not a member, to join and gain this free cover against any possibility."

There are no more details, but wouldn't it be wonderful if football supporters really could insure themselves against anything that might happen at a game, especially the sort of annoying, poxy things hardly imagined 50 years ago?

You’ve planned your whole Saturday,

and then what do Sky only go and do?

Put it back to when you’re back on your North Sea oil rig

Sky buggering around with kick-off times: Weeks ago you planned your whole Saturday around being in the boozer from 12, at the game from three to five, then back in the pub, then what do they only go and do? Put it back to late-night Monday when you'll be back on your North Sea oil rig. Insurance to cover loss, expenses, aggravation - £1,000.

Star player doing a runner in the January window. You buys your season ticket back in June, fully confident that Good Old Heskey, the only Wigan player who can kick straight, is going to be leading your line. Come February, the bastard is still leading the line - for the fucking opposition. Refund of ticket, plus compensation - £1,500.

Star player disappearing: Imagine having an LA Galaxy season ticket, which you only bought cos of Beckham, about whom you have wet dreams, and then he's gone, destination unknown. Grievous disappointment - $1,000.

Being abused by Craig Bellamy, or similar: You're happily shouting all sorts, cos you really hate him, which is only your right, when he turns round, in front of your missus and kids, and gives you a mouthful back. Affront to your sensitivities, public humiliation and possible saliva poisoning - £500.

Being kung-fu'd: He's off playing beach footie with a load of other fatties, thank Gawd, but chances are some overpaid yob will still leap over the barrier and lump you. Insurance cover - £5,000.

Manager sacked: There must be people who adored Big Phil, and even Grey Old Grant, so when it happens mid-season, just when you're convinced he's cracked it, you are well choked, having invested all that sympathy not to mention empathy, whatever that is. Compensation - £5.50.

Change of owners: Overnight, the butchers, bakers and builders who've owned the club for yonks have sold out to some financial wizard based in Colombia who arrives on the pitch at half-time with a helicopter filled with fivers that he throws to the crowd . . . only to disappear a month later, leaving the club bankrupt.

Rubbish programme: Full of glossy ads for horrible sponsors, and nowt about your team you didn't know. Refund, plus insult to intelligence - £20 per game.

Rubbish players: Several hundred Spurs fans travel midweek all the way to Ukraine to cheer on their heroes, only to find that Harry has fielded a team of youth players in nappies whose names they don't know. Travel, hotel, entertaining well fit Ukrainian girls - £1,000.

Objectionable fans: Being sat next to belching, farting drunks from the hospitality suites who have never been to a game before, middle-class dads who talk all the way through to their dopey kids and Mr Shouter, right in front of you, who stands for the whole game. Insurance - £100 per game.

It took about a week, but I did get through to a present-day Grimsby fan. Gary Swan, of the away supporters' travel club, told me they do have cover - mainly for coach travel, in case a match gets cancelled. No imagination, these modern insurance firms.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 02 March 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Thatcher: 30 years on, the final verdict