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Saturday, 16 July 2011

The frustrations of being a football fan


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As football fans we are a pessimistic breed. No sooner have we finished dancing in the stands or in front of the TV celebrating our club’s promotion, championship, relegation avoidance or cup victory, we turn our attention to the next competition and start convincing ourselves football life will never be as good again; fearful that our rivals are better prepared, better managed, bigger spenders, etc. It is no different when our club is one of those in the majority and finish the season in mid-table mediocrity or endure the misery of relegation, by the time the final whistle has blown in the final game we are already fearing a repeat or worse next season for all the same reasons.

The football fan’s pessimism and impatience is most prevalent through the football-baron summer months. As players come and go and the transfer rumour mill goes into overdrive, we find it almost impossible to relax and trust our chairmen, boards and managers (fans of the posh clubs can include directors of football in this list) to bring in the right players and get the spending balance just right to achieve our lofty and mainly unrealistic ambitions for the new campaign.

For example, my club is Chesterfield and for us last season was the most magical of seasons. Flowing football, loads of goals and securing the League Two Championship at our new home on the last day of its first ever season. However, like many of our fans, I am stressing over the transfer strategy of my beloved club. Not because I don’t trust our dedicated chairman or the so far impeccable judgment of our manager, but my pessimism refuses to let it lie. Why?

So far, last season’s top goalscorer Craig Davies has been tempted away to Championship outfit Barnsley and several long-term loaners have returned to their parent clubs. Word from within the club is that new signings will come in, but until the signings are revealed my negativity is fed by word of the ones that got away. Clayton Donaldson for one who chose Brentford over the B2Net stadium due to a wage offer allegedly double our best offer. Chesterfield’s fans may know better than most about football’s financial hardships, having been rescued from the brink of oblivion only a decade ago. Surely this should make me sensibly nod along with our frugal approach and our refusal to be held to ransom by the dark forces otherwise known as player’s and agent’s demands. But it doesn’t. This is entirely my point. Like the fans of every other club I am impossible to please. Had we thrown caution to the wind and signed Lionel Messi this close season I would be fretting over the cost, fearing the financial worst and moaning about how one player doesn’t make a team.

Perpetual pessimism isn’t just for the fans of lower league clubs either. Take Liverpool as an example, one of the Premier League’s biggest spenders over the past six months and still the fans are finding reasons to be downbeat, mainly worrying if the big money men of Henderson and Carroll will live up to the big money hype.

Everywhere you go football fans are finding new reasons to be negative about how their squads are shaping up for next season. There is hope though, because around the beginning of August something magical happens; the season kicks off and we all start believing again. The player we thought was an overpriced has-been in July scores a last minute winner and is now a hero, the waste of time free transfer becomes the biggest bargain in football history and the player we wanted who went to our rivals turns out to be a donkey.

Roll on August!

Article written by Dave Harding

 

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