Sunday, 24 April 2011
Why do expectations grate with Harry?
The race for fourth has now become the slump to sixth.
It wasn't an awful performance - it just wasn't good enough. Not good enough to beat West Brom and not good enough for a side that wants to claim a Champions League spot.
We're officially on a pretty appalling run now. We've won one of our last seven league games. If you take the Arsenal game out of the line-up, we've played Blackpool, Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Stoke and West Brom. And we've got seven points out of 18. The minimum we should expect out of that is 12. It's not wildly unreasonable to look for 14 or 15.
Yes, Harry, I said 'expect'. Harry seems to have a problem with expectation. Expectation, you see, leads to disappointment, possibly even disgruntlement. And Harry doesn't like that. He considers it an uninformed and ungrateful affront.
He thinks we're kidding ourselves if we expect to beat Blackpool, Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Stoke and West Brom. And yes, maybe beating all of them in the space of six weeks is a tall order (although fuck knows it shouldn't be impossible), but surely we're allowed to expect to beat more than one of them?
But no, Harry gets all churlish and snippy when the fans dare to grumble. You can tell he wants to mention that eight games/two points thing, but even he knows the statute of limitation has passed on that one now. We should still be grateful, though; we must never forget...
After the West Brom game he said that when we were 2-1 up the crowd were all singing and enjoying themselves, then when they equalised it was like the end of the world - his voice heavy with sarcasm and judgement.
Well you know what, Harry? Fuck off. When we were 2-1 up, the mood lifted slightly, yes. That's kind of what happens in football, you must be aware of this. But there was still tension, still a nagging belief that we'd need a third, and an acute awareness that we didn't look like getting it.
And when they equalised it wasn't the end of the world, but it was something close to the end of our season. And we care, you see. We probably care far too much, but you're just gonna have to learn to live with that. Or fuck off.
What you can't do is keep deflecting criticism onto the fans with all this bollocks about 'Yeah, cos they were always qualifying for the Champions League before I got here, weren't they?'.
What you're saying is that it's okay for you to fail, because we shouldn't expect success. And that, actually, if we express disappointment at dropping points against immensely beatable sides, then the fault isn't with you and the team for dropping the points, it's with us for not understanding the true nature of the situation. It's with us having the audacity to expect more than a point against West Ham, or Wigan, or to not be the only club that fails to beat Blackpool over the course of a couple of months.
It's becoming as annoying as all these dropped points. And that's really fucking annoying.
The game itself? As ever, I'm going to assume you saw it and will be either reading or, like me, avoiding plenty of lovely linear reports elsewhere.
I think we could have just about scraped three points from it, but I'm not sure we deserved three points. Their equaliser was a brilliant strike which we all know that fucker will never repeat, but, sometimes, the first thing you've gotta say is 'yep, good goal, well done son'. (And is it true, as most of us on Twitter espoused last night, that players save their once-in-a-lifetime thunderbolts for us? It's probably not, but it feels like it).
On the plus side, our two centre forwards scored two good goals from open play. Then again, those two centre forwards did exactly that a few weeks back against Wolves - and it didn't mark a turnaround in form and it didn't result in three points.
We're not playing well, we're not picking up points, we're not going to finish fourth and I, like many of you, will be pissed off. Just don't tell Harry.