Saturday, 21 May 2011

Review of the season

Cup winners. Third spot - meaning no need to qualify for the CL. Beating the Rags at Wembley.

Altogether, a satisfactory season, you would have to say. It didn't start so well, with the sterile (for us anyway) draw against Spurs, but it has had its moments. The early win against the Scousers, followed by a loss to Sunderland and a draw against Blackburn at home seemed to be setting an all too familiar pattern during August, but we picked up with a good win (again!) over the London Huns and a crucial victory against the (altogether now - awwww) now relegated Tangerines. Then another relative slump, losing (badly) to Arsenal and then Wolves, and a couple of 0-0s; the one against the Rags marking a low point for me, because the match was so poor and so negative.

And yet. It seemed (looking back) to have signalled some kind of turning point - because of the psychological aspect to holding them off. It was as if you could almost see a pair of scales tipping ever so slightly from one side to the other. Mancini has put some steel into the defensive elements of the team - to the extent that I no longer get the jitters when we're 3-0 up, and some of our players seem to have re-found some of their lost form - Richards and (dare I say it?) Lescott among them. There can be little doubt, notwithstanding the expressions of relative frugality recently emanating from Abu Dhabi, that we will continue to plunder the world's finest for next year's push, and it will be fun for a while at least to watch us on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. The Europa League is best forgotten IMHO, as it drags on and on, and you end up playing matches on a Thursday tea time in some far flung corner of Siberia, and even when you win it, nobody gives a fuck. So good luck to Spurs (and Birmingham and Blackpool of course) for the coming season.

The game in general continues to confound me, and it's very sad to see so many clubs folding or being penalised for going into administration while the likes of us, QPR, etc., fiddle away as if we are staging our own Grand Prix in Tahrir Square. Sustainability is clearly not on the agenda for those lucky enough to have suckled on the ever-giving teat of the Premier League, and it surely must all come tumbling down before long. But we the people seem to have a boundless appetite for the stuff. Everywhere I go, I hear conversations in many languages and accents, peppered with the names of Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and City. The pubs are stuffed to the rafters for every big match, and you can be sure that there will still be a waiting list for season tickets at the Emirates, even with the lack of success and the hike in prices. We're all mugs at the end of the day, but anyone watching the amazing relegation battles going on yesterday cannot but have fallen for the seductive charms of the game. God knows, they told us about it often enough.

Good night. And may your god go with you.

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