We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King Junior
I can only assume that Mr King was no football fan. Personally I am against hope. It is brutal, cruel and there to barbed wire-coat every vague moment when your team might do something great and then they don’t.
For that reason as far I was concerned last Satday I was not going up to the void to see the game against Swansea. For starters, while two successive wins for Lesta City were very welcome, this was clearly the match when normal service would be resumed and the slight pause in our inextricable slide back to the Championship would be back on track. Plus there has been a rule this season that when the fixture list has the cheek to turn up clashing home fixtures for the Saints and the Foxes, the former always wins. Not only is it a mere 30 minute walk to the ground and a 40 minute sway back, but there’s no train fare, the company is of the highest calibre, there are bacon-based snacks aplenty and on this occasion it was the last home game of the season.
I had however forgotten about tradition. Traditionally my Swansea supporting mate, Melena and I travel from London to said fixture. When I say ‘traditionally’ that is maybe stretching it a smidgen (and let’s face it, one person’s smidgen is another person’s country mile). We have done it once. Since then I don’t think our teams have been in the same league. If they had been then clearly we would have always done it. So technically it is a tradition, just not one that we have been able to honour through no fault of our own….Anyway the point is we had agreed at the start of the season that we would keep the tradition alive and a promise is a promise.
I was a bit gutted at the thought of no end of season appearance at the banter strewn Clarence Park, where the rivers are made of Stella and the streets are paved with winning golden goal tickets. But I was assured of good company on the journey up to the Void plus they had promised to get in the train beer supplies. And that’s what I got, but even with beer goggles are applied, I remained sensible enough to eschew our fickle friend hope, and was confidently predicting an away win.
Benjamin Franklin was pretty good on hope, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” Fortunately for us as hope was off the menu we could take in a smorgasbord of brilliantly cooked Indian starters at the previously visited Spicy Handii. I know I should resist the joke but I can’t. It IS handi for the ground…….sorry.
There’s not many things I would put up against Andy’s bacon cobs but their lamb samosas would be in with a chance. Their case is probably helped by the fact that Andy’s van does not provide complementary Baileys. When I say complementary I do mean it was free, not that it said the shade of my Lesta City polo shirt matches my eyes. Baileys is probably not the best beverage post Indian meal but the very large and free brandy that followed it seemed to aid digestion….And also my belief that even though Lesta were still doomed this had been a good thing to do. Get the match over, get home. Job done.
Except of course Mr Pearson and the men in blue (partly aided by a Swansea team who to be honest did look a bit like they were working out whether it would be Ibiza or Mykonos this summer) were doing their best to tempt me in, to make me hope. An early goal, some near misses, the occasional heart stopping moment plus a second goal in the eighty-fifth minute sent adults, children and TLFs demented. You don’t just bounce in these situations, you act like a complete lunatic with no control. You scream, you jump up and down, you hug people you would normally cross the street to avoid and in my case I snagged an ultimate cliche and I kissed the top of the bald head of the complete stranger sitting next to me……I suppose that last action could have been down to the brandy not the goal.
You go home beaming, checking the league tables and working out the implications and before you know it, that untrustworthy bas*ard has wormed his way back into your life and you start to hop……NOOO you don’t. You get in touch with your inner Friedrich Nietzsche. You shake your head at the people saying that your team is surging up the table….and not just because moving up two spots in the relegation zone doesn’t look like much of a surge to me. And you remember what Mr N said,
“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”