Super fan Paul is due a testimonial
A lot has changed in the past decade – but one thing that has not wavered is non-league fan Paul Mullins' love for Chasetown.
The 46-year-old, from Walsall, has racked up 10 consecutive years without missing a game – a total of 568 matches.
In that time he has seen all the highs and lows – cup runs, promotion and relegation – but nothing has stopped him from following his beloved Scholars the length and breadth of the country.
"I'm very proud to have completed 10 years without missing a match," said Mullins. "And I've obviously been blessed with staying healthy in that time.
"It's like a family at Chasetown and in non-league football. Even when results aren't good it's still good to meet up."
Mullins grew up a Liverpool supporter – taken to his first game by his Birmingham-supporting dad when the Reds and Blues drew 0-0 at St Andrew's in May 1984.
But it was as a 13-year-old in 1985 that his true love affair with football began.
After learning Bryn Scorey – his geography teacher at Ridgeway Middle School – was involved with Chasetown as a player and manager, he paid 20p to go to his first Scholars game.
Little did Mullins know then it would start a journey that would take in a total of more than 1,300 Chasetown matches – and counting.
"The reason I stayed was the family atmosphere, I was always welcomed," said Mullins, who would take over the reports for the Sporting Star as far back as 1990 and continues to contribute to the Express & Star's Final Whistle supplement today.
Aside from cheering on the boys in blue and writing reports for the Express & Star, Mullins also now runs the club website and posts on Twitter along with programme editor Lauren Lincoln.
It's just all a part of his increased fandom over the years.
He did not miss a match for three years between 1999 and 2002 – 'my first three years of 100 per cent', as Mullins puts it – and had three unbroken seasons between 2003 and 2006. He only missed two games in 2002/03 for family weddings.
But his best streak was yet to come. After moving to Northern Ireland, he returned in 2008 to begin his unbroken 10-year stint.
"The closest I came to missing one since 2008 was when my sister got married on a Saturday before Christmas," said Mullins. "But the game with Mickleover got postponed because of snow. I was delighted!"
Chasetown got all the way to the third round of the FA Cup – beating league side Port Vale along the way before losing to Cardiff City – just before Mullins' 10-year stretch began, but another cup run sticks out as the main highlight from the last decade.
"Years merge, but off the top of my head it would be Kettering away in the FA Trophy and all of that run really," he said.
The Scholars were just two wins from Wembley that season – 2010/11 – when they lost a replay to Mansfield Town, but enjoyed wins over Grimsby and Eastleigh, among others, along the way.
However, the following year brought the lowest ebb – relegation back to the eighth tier after a 4-4 draw at Burscough.
And the last six months have been a microcosm of supporting a club at that level.
Having reached the play-offs last season, this year has not started quite as Chasetown would have hoped, winning just one of their opening 10 matches in Northern One West.
But come rain or shine, you can guarantee Mullins will be back at the Scholars Ground tomorrow for an FA Trophy time with Lincoln United – it is game No. 569 after all.