First game back at the lane for me on Saturday. I was on muddy Clapham Common last week, having a whale of a time watching Chase and Status.
I usually go to the Spurs with my old man. We always talk through the game before, during and afterwards. I do the same with my my two mates who are season ticket holders. Meet up beforehand, throw around some expert analysis before heading into the ground. That’s half the reason we go, the banter. We like to to be armchair pundits, we like to think we know best.
Saturday was a rarity for me, I headed down there on my own, for my first attendance of the season. Paxton end, always Paxton. It’s where my Granddad stood as well as my Dad and his brothers. My Dad always has a story or two to tell about watching games from the Paxton End. Being a sentimental old fool why break with tradition? If it was good enough for Granddad George then it’s where I want to be. If I ever get my season ticket, then I want it to be in the Paxton.
I’ve had some great times sat in the North Stand as well as some real downers. Whatever the outcome I’ve always been comfortable, surrounded by my fellow supporters. It’s not the first time I’ve gone solo. I’ve attended a few games in the past where I’ve got chatting to the people around me and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Europa League last season, good example. Sat there with some of the real stalwarts who paid twenty quid to sit in the cold and watch our ‘reserves’ despite the lack of Champions League glory.
So as I walked down the High Rd I never felt for a second I would feel out of place. Despite my usual companion not being there I would surely have some decent supporters around me to chat to. Well after Saturday, I might just have to break with tradition. I felt sick, angry, embarrassed and above all disappointed to be associated with some of those so called ‘fans’ sat around me.
Some of the comments I heard from them were atrocious. It was like I was surrounded by at thirty Simon Cowells who spent the entire game bemoaning Spurs, our players, our manager and our performance.
Some of the choice comments:
‘Livermore has been useless, absolutely useless, he’s not good enough’
‘I want my Harry back’
‘Typical Spurs, we haven’t got a clue’
‘Vertonghen is ****
‘I knew we’d go to pot when AVB joined’
I felt sick, angry and above all embarrassed to even be associated with some of those fans sat around me.
Now I don’t mind some criticism. As I said, we are all armchair pundits. But we are also the supporters. The twelfth man. When the chips are down it’s up to us to raise a song and get behind those lads. Even when we’re not playing well.
Not once did I hear anyone seated near me try and get behind the team. Every time I yelled my support, or joined in a song there was just me and a few other rebels in the Paxton giving it a go. Everywhere else, flat line, nada, nothing but misery.
Then there was the booing at half time, we weren’t even losing. Sure we weren’t playing great, but come on. When that started I shouted out ‘Don’t f-ing boo!’ There were a few embarrassed faces sloping off to the khazis.
It was genuinely one of my worst experiences at the lane and I’ve seen some bad games over the years. As everyone walked out, I stood up, one of a very small group in the Paxton and clapped. There was a tut from the couple next to me as they had to squeeze past to get to the exit.
Sorry, how rude of me.
As I clapped I felt a little bit pathetic. Hoping that amongst the boos, one of the team might look up and see me there and think ‘Actually we didn’t play that well, the fans are really unhappy, but that guy there, he’s behind us, so next time we’ll do better.’
The Norwich supporters sung something along the lines of our support not being up to par during the game (although I think it contained a few more swear words). Thing is they had a point. It was left to the Park Lane to come back with a choice song regarding their relationship with their mothers, so we could retain some dignity. I hate it when we are out-sung by the away support.
A horrible malaise has crept into WHL while the passion has started to leave through the back door. I’ve always felt Flav goes a bit overboard with his comments about the supporters on the podcast. But today I’m right behind him, 100%. If you don’t want to support then get out, because I know enough people who would buy your ticket and support the team.
Three games in, new manager, new players, new system, playing a team on Saturday that set itself up specifically to make it difficult for us to play. They all do it now, ten men behind the ball and don’t let them through. We should be flattered. Ok, so we haven’t quite worked out how to deal with that and yes, I get it, it is frustrating to watch.
If you don't want to support then get out, because I know enough people who would buy your ticket and support the team.
Maybe I’m a realist but I wasn’t surprised by the result but I saw enough to make me think that we are not far off of clicking, we just need a bit more time. I want us to build and develop, we have to, times are a changing. So I want to see us follow this project through and create something great.
Sure, like all the other false dawns this may fall flat on it’s face. I suspect that some of our fans are just waiting for it to happen. They believe the anti-AVB media or their mate the Chelsea supporter who warned them. But even if it does fail, the badge, the shirt, the history and the Lane will all still be there.
The problem now is the ‘fans’, they won’t give it any time They want their instant gratification and they want it now. The last few seasons have been some of the best, an upward curve, with some great performances. In some of our ‘fans’ mind this means we should be up there by now, winning every game.
Even then, you have to ask, would these so called fans be happy...?