Feel like a bear this morning. Like a big fat hairy bear waking up from a pleasant, dreamless few months at the back of a cosy cave. Hope your break from all things football was equally refreshing and that you found plenty of diverting, and above all interesting ways to spend the languid, lazy, stress free days.
Well you can forget all that because it’s time to take the belt into your teeth, tighten it around your arm and push the needle in. Yep, we’re back on the smack as of four pm this afternoon. Pretending it makes us happy while we sink ever further into the misery of addiction, delusion, repetition and despair.
Of course we experience the occasional high, all junkies do, it keeps us coming back for more. The underlying hope is to rediscover the joy we experienced when we did it for the first time. Today might well be one of those days. Might not be but it won’t make any difference to you and I because we’re pathetically addicted to keep coming back for more regardless of the result, performance or fall out.
Neither of today’s teams has enjoyed a particularly consistent season, both will be hoping a convincing win over a rival will divert the criticism for a week. Who is in the better form? I suppose it’s City based on results and anything but the most partisan view of our recent performances. Taken over the last ten matches there is, in fact, barely anything between the two sides, a mere two points in fact. However when we look at the Premier League form table over the most recent six matches the picture is horribly different.
Spurs are at the top with City second and Arsenal so far down I got a crick in my neck looking for us. So if current form is a guide we will probably lose today. Of course football is a game of numbers but they are only relevant after the event. The stats can’t be used to predict anything because there are way too many variables in a game with twenty two fallible human beings and three officials any one of whom can influence the result with a moment of madness or a flash of brilliance.
Those of you in your first ever season watching the game and supporting Arsenal may find the team’s current plight too much to bear. The rest of us, having been around the block a few times, have seen more ups and downs than a bi-polar lift attendant and can breezily take a few defeats in our stride. We know that a seemingly devastated side, shorn of confidence and steering wildly towards a rocky shore, can suddenly right itself and win in a most unexpectedly comfortable fashion.
Look at Liverpool. In January they couldn’t win a game and everyone was making jokes at Herr Klopp’s expense. Now, a few weeks later, they are world beaters, set to cement their top four place and take Europe by storm next season. It’s this fickle, feckless fly by night attitude, so prevalent among football fans, which puts me off the whole thing.
The sport can be a complex blend of tactics, egos, form and confidence. It can bewilder and confuse, thrill and frustrate in equal or unequal measures. However this is only for the manager and players. When, like us, all you have to do is watch the game, it is actually very simple.
You only really have two things to do – celebrate if your team wins, get over it if they lose. Oh, and you could try to enjoy as much of the stuff that takes place on the pitch before either result comes about. Everything else, the arguments, the opinions, the discussions, is just froth. Ephemeral, chimerical codswallop which, if you let it, will strangle any joy you might once have taken from watching a match.
Before you point it out to me, can I say I do get the irony of using the platform of a football blog to rail against the peripheral flim-flam gushing from opinionated amateur windbags like me. I get it and I still do it. Like I said, tighten the belt until the vein bulges and sink the needle in. I don’t have a problem. Honest. I can quit football any time I like.