Aside from the unlikely (but admittedly not impossible) scenario of being dragged into a relegation fight, the season is over, packed away first week of January with the Christmas decorations.
No attempt at winning anything, no attempt at progression and just the prospect of departures over the next week or so to keep us on our toes and generate debate. Exactly the same as last year.
If this fare had been served up in the eighties, I shudder to think what the reaction would have been. Actually I know what would have happened – it would have been ‘sack the board’ for starter, mains and dessert, hollered from scoreboard, corner and paddocks, before, during and after each and every match. Nothing pre-organised – no hash tags – just a huge venting of collective frustration.
Gordon McKeag, for all his reticence to invest, was a local man and a proper fan, who carried on attending religiously right up to his death in 2005. And yet the hostility that he endured pre- John Hall was both incredible and unwavering.
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Now we have Ashley – a southern wheeler-dealer who is clearly a fan of nothing at all but the pound in his pocket. This regime is weighing heavily on us all. Daily. His trotters are ever deeper in the trough and there’s no realistic prospect of him clearing off any time soon.
So why is the reaction so insipid these days? Why is it that we accept this southern pariah with little more than a whimper? How have we changed so much over a relatively short space of time?
I’m not advocating lynch mobs, or boycotts, or group arse-bearing, or in fact anything specific at all – what interests me is where did the passion go?
When did St James’ become so damned placid?
Why were 36,000 voices, mostly open to the elements, able to create far more of a protest than 52,000 in a relatively enclosed environment?
And when did it become seemingly unacceptable to voice objection?
Did Roy Keane break the habit of a lifetime and make an accurate assessment with his ‘prawn sandwich’ jibe?
Is it political correctness that has strangled anything but the most polite of expression?
Is it that social media is now the only place to vent your spleen and express your anger?
Are we just more accepting of mediocrity these days, given that’s been the staple diet for most of my lifetime certainly?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not hankering for a return to flared kecks or even standing up. I’ve got a young lad and I of course don’t want him exposed to terrace battles. I just wish there was a bit more verbal expression of our dissatisfaction. A bit more of a feeling of being in it together. A bit less glum, silent resignation kicking about the place. I can already picture what the Stoke game is going to be like….
I‘m not daft enough to think that anything we could sing, chant, scream or holler would make much difference to Ashley, but to shout up and hear the ground united in condemnation would make me for one feel a whole lot better.
A bit like voting – at least you’d have your say. And it might at least stop Ashley from turning up to view his ‘investment, which would be an improvement. I know there’s not much positive to sing about but Christ almighty, I wish there was a bit of life about the place, a bit of spirit and a bit of attitude.
I’ll admit, I wish every once in a while that Harry Roberts was still our friend, that people went home in ambulances and that Steve Howey’s brother was …well, you know.
Just to put some jip back into proceedings. Maybe every generation feels the same – maybe I’ve got rose coloured specs on, but I really miss the atmosphere as it used to be – at no time more so than when there’s a tyrant in place and a protest to be made.