Jamie's Matchday Experience
As part of the Level Playing Field Weeks of Action Campaign, we want to hear about disabled fans experiences in attending live football matches. Sport plays an integral part in society today and attending live matches more often than not provides a positive impact on an individual's life and we want to share these experiences.
Jamie Dyer is a passionate Exeter City fan and has been following the Grecians for the last 8 years. As well as being a season ticket at St James Park, he is a member of the Exeter City Supporters Trust and often travels to away games. Jamie also plays Powerchair Football for Exeter City.
We spoke to Jamie after Exeter City's brilliant 2-1 away win at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, to put the Grecians back into the League 2 Play-Off spots. This was Jamie's sixth away game of the season.
What were your early experiences of attending live football games?
"My first experience of attending a live game was being completely blown away. As I entered the stadium I was in shock because of the colours, the flags and scarves. But most of all because of the amazing amount of passion and noise the fans were making. I never knew that over 3000 people could show such a display of unity".
What's the most enjoyable part about your matchday?
"The most enjoyable part about my matchday is the anticipation knowing that you can be a part of something special, and spurring the players on to contribute to the end result of the game".
What are the positive things your club does to make your matchday as enjoyable as possible?
"Exeter City does a number of things to make my matchday special. One of these things is treating me as they would treat anyone else, which is really important. It's really accessible for wheelchair users and they have two disabled toilets. As well as this, they have a wheelchair seating area in every stand around the ground".
In 3 words how would you describe your matchday experience?
"Atmospheric, special, exhilarating".
If you could give any advice to a disabled fan who hasn't yet attended a live football match, what would you say?
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Do not be scared to go to a game. The stewards are there to help you, so do not be fazed by loud noises. Once you have been to a game, you will be hooked".
What makes watching live sport more enjoyable than watching it on TV?
"It's more enjoyable and special because of the atmosphere. You see a lot of people who have the same passion as you".
Why, in your opinion is it important for disabled people to have access to live sport?
"It's important for disabled people to have access to live sport because it gives them a sense of belonging. It is a good way of meeting new people, as well as being part of something special".
Above - Jamie outside Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium
Above - Jamie cheering on Exeter City at their home ground, St James Park
Above - Jamie supporting Exeter at another away ground, Stadium MK, the home of Milton Keynes Dons
Above - Jamie at Gresty Road, home of Crewe Alexandra on Saturday for Exeter's 2-1 win
Above - Jamie playing Powerchair football for Exeter City Powerchair FC, in October 2015
Level Playing Field are into their 15th season and it's annual weeks of action takes place between 2nd-15th March. The campaign looks to shine a light on the positive work being done by clubs, DSA's, fans and other organisations towards access and inclusion. Their main aim is to drive a greater matchday experience for disabled fans, and to encourage more fans to watch the 'beautiful game'.