With the football season underway, supporters of various clubs will shortly realise that radio ventriloquists are more believable than some of their managers’ new signings.
Nothing spoils a supporter’s summer holiday like your club signing the turkey which escaped the Christmas market. Fans’ gnashing and wailing of teeth can be heard louder than Radiohead at Glastonbury.
The optimistic promise of a new football season is guaranteed to disappear faster than the beer on a stag weekend in Prague once punters have a good gander at some of the duds the boss has splashed the cash on.
Every manager thinks he can rescue another manger’s failure.
Every manager is sure that he can work his special magic by signing and transforming the boy who had unlimited potential at 17, and who was the next Ronaldo, but somehow misplaced his attitude and talent these last few years.
New signings are like a punt on the lottery, but fans constantly demand new faces to entertain them, so football remains what it’s always been: bread and circuses.
There are no depths shallow enough to hide the gullibility of fans at this time of the year, and I include myself in that.
The vagaries and inconsistencies of a player’s performances at previous clubs are quietly stored in the compartment in the brain marked, ‘do not disturb’, which firmly replaces the thinking part of the grey matter, when it comes to football matters. The thinking part which might objectively ask for example, why has this striker scored just six goals in total at the five clubs he’s played for?
Or, why have we signed this supposed flying machine from lower division English football, when he’s only made 20 appearances in the past eight years?
Most pitiful of all is when we fall for the vacuous guff about how big a club the new signing has just joined, and how highly he rates the manager, who has of course just weighed him in with 200 quid a week more than his only other offer.
As fans we delight in wild speculation and rumour, about possible, real, and imagined signings. It’s the lifeblood of the game.
Meantime, for loyal servants no longer required, or whose body long since raised the white flag at the physical demands, our response is ‘here’s your coat what’s your hurry’, as they slip from our consciousness, to a new berth at some club a couple of rungs down the divisions.
As football fans, we demand in the same breath that the club is run as a tight financial ship, and simultaneously castigate the board for not splashing the cash. It’s a madhouse of Alice in Wonderland hypocrisy.
Within months, the early promise of everlasting summer turns to autumn chill, with our hopes scattered like discarded leaves, as brutal reality bites.
The realisation that milk left in the midday sun turns quicker than our new central defender, and that the speedy wide man has an aversion to a tackle, or indeed any kind of physical contact, dulls our senses, and the whole process begins anew, in the football fan’s never ending circle of life.