How to 'not' lose games and alienate your fans
This has been done before, but I feel a reprise is in order. This is dedicated to some of the lads at Glory-Glory.co.uk who are drowning in their own depression. Again.
THE BIGGEST GAME IN OUR HISTORY™ : The Final Chapter: Redux
Spurs v Pompey, 4pm kick-off, Sunday 18th Jan, 2009.
This is it people. End of days. The last hooray. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid attempting to get to their horses. Charlton Heston thumping the sand at the end of Planet of the Apes. Rocky losing out to Creed. Steve McQueen not quite making the motorcycle jump over the border.
We are gush, make no mistake about it. And there's not a whiff of a blockbuster performance in sight. Not until those new arrivals make an entrance. Unless City nick 'em off us.
We are doing just about enough in each game to lose. Usually in the dying seconds. Rolling over and having our tummy's tickled is our most endearing quality, which is why the opposition love to play us. We haven't been overwhelmed or battered by anyone yet. We just turn up, go one or two goals down, and quietly die on the pitch while the opposing team, usually not that much better than us in terms of individual quality, just more so plucky and willing, get their heads in front and comfortably hold on to win.
We've heard it all now. From players and management. All the sound-bites and ill-fated battle cries. Players, formations, tactics, substitutions. There is nothing left in the way of 'that one last chance'. Our past 3 or 4 games in the Prem have been 'must wins'. Imperative for us to leave the mire behind and climb steady upwards.
Those, with each passing week, were the games that would change our form and kick-start our season for a second time, since the arrival of Harry Redknapp. And almost all have ended in abject defeat. We've done more side-stepping than Vinny Samways.
We haven't got any worse over the past few weeks, but we haven't improved. Just stagnated. Any suggested individual improvement is fairly invisible to the human eye. What we've managed to add to this cauldron of crap is the ability to throw it away at the death. We're not just pressing down on the self-destruct button, we are head-butting it.
Less backbone than a jellyfish. Our superfluous stars have sat back into the comfort zone after their initial positive reaction to the appointment of 'arry. But If they made their own luck in that first grouping of games - dragging themselves off the bottom, then surely then can muster up more of the same? Surely personal pride, pride for the Lilywhite and pride as people earning thousands of pounds can muster up in front of loyal home fans the grit to brush aside Pompey and once more, go on a run of point-accumulating results to ease our worries?
Blame Ramos and that woeful start, strange tactics and formation and a ton of lost points. Blame Comolli and his random unbalanced signings. Blame Levy and his lack of leadership. Blame Jenas for anything you fancy. Blame Bentley who can't cross or find a white shirt with a simple pass. Blame Bale and his voodoo. Blame Redknapp and his insistent jabbering to the press. It doesn't matter any more who is at fault. What matters now is who will take responsibility and get us out of this mess. And the eleven players who represent us should be the ones who turn it around once and for all because regardless of management and pre-match talk, it's the 90 minutes on the pitch that count.
There is no lower ebb than being 5 or 6 points adrift and that will happen if we don't start winning consistently. It's do or die time. Because every defeat going forward brings us closer to Championship football and Doncaster away.
Luck (the good type) is non-existent for us at the minute, and all mathematical omens are more ominous than the Grim Reaper taking a seat next to you at a doctors appointment.
Sunday is no longer about measured tactical ploys or 4-5-1's. Sunday has be a Cup final (forget the Milk Cup). Sunday has to be about setting the precedence for every game after that with regards to performance. Performance equating to: Fight, urgency, spirit, desire, guts, passion, belief and pride.
Go one down? Heads up, chests out, f*cking well go for the jugular and claw/scratch/kick/bite your way back into the game. Go one up? Then push for a second with all your sodding might. Start to believe, regain that swagger and that confidence. Because even without Berbatov and Keane and a true DM - we still have players of quality. Yes Harry, unbalanced or not, these players still have enough about them. That includes you Defoe. Show us it was worth the effort and money to bring you back. Show us you have grown as a player. All of you - show us you have enough and some to get us above West Brom, Stoke, Boro and several others into the comfort of 12th place.
A win, 3 points, it's not the f*cking Holy Grail! Dry those f*cking eyes, get a grip you melters and win the sodding game. Getting smacked around by third-rate teams like we're a crack whore begging for a hit from her weasel pimp is F*CKING PATHETIC.
We are down to basics. Every time we have prayed that our players would take the game by the scruff (Wigan, Hull, Stoke, Fulham, Newcastle etc) we have failed miserably. Its now do or die.
Over-dramatic? If I was drunk or high or both I might suggest that losing to Pompey won't be the end, because a dozen teams above us are just as poor and inconsistent. But this is a chance to galvanise the club prior to any new arrivals turning up. If we don't believe, we don't deserve.
That's what we are all hoping a win against Pompey will do. Galvanise. Because we have no choice now due to the maths and our position and the upcoming fixtures. 17 games left. We have to start somewhere. And putting it off every week means less points to grab as we near the nerve-shattering end. We control our destiny, we can't control the form of others around us. Too good to go down? We haven't even been good enough to claw ourselves to mid-table.
At some point soon, the bottom half will begin to stretch a little and divides will appear between the teams at the very bottom and the teams just above them. And if you are sat in 20th place, worried about your points tally, then there is no worse position to be if you are in possession of that calculator of doom. We have to start winning.
So all that's left is for the home fans to sing till their mouths bleed and for the team out on the pitch to remember who they are and reclaim some self-respect and respect for the club and its fans and its history. Forget about that mug Campbell. Forget about those Pompey fans and their hatred for 'arry and Defoe. One thing matters on Sunday. Tottenham Hotspur. So make sure the players bloody well know you're there and cheer them on for every single second the ball is in play.
If the noise and our current league predicament doesn't inspire them? I'd suggest we sack them, run an X-Factor style competition to find out who the most athletic 20 Spurs fans are, and then stick them in the Lilywhite shirt. Because determination wise, they will run till their lungs collapse. And at least win/lose/draw - we can say we we're proud of the effort.
Once again, for one last time, it's over to you.....Gomes, Cesar, Alnwick, Corluka, Gunter, Bale, Dawson, King, Woodgate, Rocha, Huddlestone, Zokora, Modric, O'Hara, Lennon, Bentley, Taarabt, Bent, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko, Campbell....
Portsmouth....you can stick your cowbell. Make sure you bring a f*ckin' shinebox instead.