I am a man of stolid loyalties, which mark my life from everything to do with morning routine through to lunchtime sandwich fillings and sports interests. Since the dawn of my maturity, I have supported the same football team, and in the last twenty years that has been an easy thing to do. Now, teams who previously came to our home ground for their annual humiliation, or had to pretend to be “good sports” when we won the championship again, are beating us using the postman and a guy who popped in to service the radiators because their actual strikers prefer going to the gym where they are more likely to get a real work-out.
I am a man who delights in being modest, and welcomes that in other people. That is not a modest thing to say, as we know, and now I have got my comeuppance . The old, glory-rich manager retired at the end of the last season, after putting another championship cup in the broom cupboard as his display shelves had run out of space. He personally selected his replacement, and then sat back in the stands, I initially presumed, to marvel at the triumphs of his successor.
As news of his appointment spread, the papers were full of talk about “A safe pair of hands” or “Look what he achieved with no budget, put a hundred million in the petrol tank and watch that guy fly into the stratosphere.” Now, seven months later, we are regarded as an easy ‘three pointer’ by any team which plays us, and the humiliation is complete by my reckoning although others, no doubt, hope it has a long way to go.
I am a man who has, in lots of ways, experienced the effects of changing fortune and circumstance so, apart from writhing with embarrassment when the team which allowed me to achieve my advance-level pass in gloatmanship now leaves opponents grounds in a plain van, I feel considerable sympathy for the manager, so recently feted, who’s suffering from insults has only been limited by the finite vocabulary of his detractors. I have some experience of this, and its not as much fun as people think.
In clouds above our heads deceased supporters are clubbing together to rent a thunderbolt with which they mean to extricate the poor guy from his current post and remove him to a place were the fires are self- renewing. In the land of the living’ pints are drunk and supporters quietly share their pain, and shake their head over some new disaster. When I was eight I received a school report which disturbed my mother. It read, “Time is running out for Wells: must learn to take life seriously” Clearly the man had an eye for character. If we meet in cloud-land on some future day, I shall ask him what his school report is for our current manager, poor guy, and listen to him sharpening his pitiless quill.
Veterans of my Blog may notice that some of my sentences are over-long. I apologise but must confess that these sports-day humiliations are dismantling me rivet by rivet, and it’s starting to show in the sentence structure. “We’ll support you ever morwer. Keep your head down and get out the doorwer” etc