It's not easy being the fan of a lower league football club.
Your team is, more likely than not, going to disappoint you, fans of bigger teams will taunt your relative lack of success, the food is (usually) terrible and there's a good chance that your owners will try and asset-strip you before too long. But you're loyal, and you love the club, so what can you do?
But this incredible tale of a raffle held by League One team Chesterfield really does take the biscuit.
The club ran a raffle, offering one lucky fan the chance to join the team on their preseason tour of Hungary. Before long, something about the whole thing seemed rather fishy.
We'll leave it to Spireites fan Jonno Turner to explain how things panned out...
Let me tell you a story about what just happened at my football club, Chesterfield FC...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
The club did a raffle for a lucky supporter to win a place on the pre season tour to Hungary. Tickets £10 a pop...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Sales were slow. Really slow. Like a handful at most - 4 or 5. So the club tried to quietly drop the idea...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Fortunately the message board members have good memories and questioned why there was no mention of the raffle taking place anymore...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
The club subsequently announced that the draw had been won by 'Surrey-based Spireite James Higgins'...lucky guy— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Only thing is, no-one has ever heard of James Higgins... Nor were there pics of him holding a shirt, fists clenched, with tickets in hand..— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
The team jets off for Hungary. A die hard fan travels to the game - and there's no sign of James or indeed any fan with the official party..— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Rumours start to circulate on the message board. Where is James, is he ok? Questions are raised to the club...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Poor James. Very unfortunate. Some might say convenient. Then the club said anyone who'd bought a ticket could be refunded if they asked...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Why? asked the fans. Why would they offer a refund on a legit raffle draw, just cos the winner fell ill?— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Social media searches failed to throw up any mention of James. Meanwhile, the club deleted the illness story from the website...— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Supporters becoming a bit frustrated at this point. It *appears* the club charged £10 a pop, made about £50 so decided to scrap the idea— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
Got to laugh, or I'd cry. My club is rotten. Lies, cover-ups, bullshit - if it wasn't for those pesky fans, they'd have gotten away with it.— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 19, 2016
The club did at least react fairly swiftly, with a statement made by Chesterfield director & company secretary Ashley Carson earlier today:
"After a thorough internal investigation, I can now confirm that the person responsible for this total farce has now left the football club.
Kevin Fitzgerald has been a hardworking, respected, likeable employee who has, for some reason, made a massive error of judgement and has subsequently paid the consequences for his actions. The board were unaware of his actions and have taken swift action after uncovering the truth.
I do hope that we can look for a replacement to head our commercial department, move forward and pick up the pieces from the whole sorry mess.
Finally, I want to confirm that all other lotteries/raffles run by the club, which are so valuable to providing funds, are in no way affected by this isolated incident."