Thursday, 5 May 2011
Blackpool - but not exactly The Big One
This should have been fun. Or at least exciting.
We should be relishing the prospect of these gaudy seasiders breezing into town for an end of season fixture which, if we'd played decently in the last eight games, would have been an irrelevance in a race for fourth that we'd already won. Or, if we'd just played half-decently, the perfect fixture to at least put some distance between us and City ahead of the Eastlands clash.
As it is, the game is an irrelevance and there is plenty of distance between us and City, but, well, you know the punchline...
The Blackpool away game was actually where our season started to unravel. Before then (and after that fucking embarrassment in the FA Cup at Fulham) we'd actually managed to win three league games in a row - and beat AC Milan away.
Then we went to Bloomfield Road and, somehow, lost. Since January 15th, Blackpool have won precisely one game. That game. The one where we had three times as many shots as they did.
It turned out to be the start of a run of eight games from which we've picked up eight points. When it started, we were on a par with Chelsea. Now they're virtually in a play-off for the title, while we're in an unseemly scramble for sixth.
It should have been fun for Blackpool, too. They had 30 points before Christmas, didn't they? Not far off, anyway. Now they're 2/7 to get relegated.
And so both teams head into this fixture in maudlin, regretful mood, but with no one but themselves to blame.
The only thing we can get out of the day is a swaggering, confidence-boosting, never-in-doubt win. Goals galore. A reminder of how good we can be - how good we will be next season, hopefully - for the fans and maybe also for the players, especially those who maybe think they're on the wrong train and are looking to change at the next stop.
We don't need any huffing or puffing. Just swashing and buckling, please. Let's see Modric and Sandro in tandem and Bale and Lennon in full flight. Let's see strikers scoring goals and defenders mainly chatting amongst themselves.
Let's secure fifth, let's rescue something from this custard pie of a season and let's start putting in performances - against relegation candidates and top four rivals - that convince us all the trend is still upwards and the future's still bright.
(Plus, I'm getting to the High Road about four hours before kick off for a few drinks so, seriously, if it's boring, I'll be asleep within 20 minutes. And boy do I snore).