Abe Lincoln once said "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time".
A slight change around of the words and we get to the basis of the football fan. Some people some of the time and some people all of the time are fools.
There was a huge amount of people during the Summer who thought that England genuinely had a chance of actually winning the World Cup. No seriously. A lot people actually believed the media hype. A lot of people genuinely thought that a squad containing three goalkeepers who had either been relegated, nearly relegated or not even first choice at their domestic teams. Not to mention wingers who get in the team for the sole reason that they can run fast.
Anyway, I digress slightly. The quality of the England team is not for discussion, it's the football fan who thinks the quality is there. This leads onto the main part of this post/thread/rant. There are Grimsby fans out there who are thinking we should be promoted this season. Nothing wrong with that I hear you cry, well listen further more. They expect us to win every game. 46 games. 138 points. Seriously, these people are out there, they are amongst us. Seriously and genuinely thinking that this can happen. They attend matches, without carers, and expect us to win comprehensively. The basis of this remains slightly a mystery but so far I've managed to work out these points three:
- We have a bigger fan base than the opposition.
- We have had a more illustrious history.
- Calton Palmer played for England.
Okay the last one's a bit of a joke, but these are the people we are up against. Unrealistic expectations. Even Charles Dickens didn't have expectations as great as some of our supporters. The simple understanding that we can be outplayed by 'minnows' from Histon or Fleetwood doesn't register. Presumably when we were in the old First division winning games against Wolves was because we had a divine right to do so. The simple, saddening, fact is we are a non league club and deservedly so. Lincoln, York, Mansfield, Cambridge, Carlisle, Luton, Doncaster, and, Oxford have all fell before us. It doesn't mean the end of the club, it doesn't mean the end of rubbish lager in the Imp, and, it doesn't mean that if Carlton Palmer played for England so can you.
If you're reading this and getting angry, thinking that we are Grimsby Town, a club with a proud history and we should leave this league as quickly as possible by winning every game then more fool you. It's you and not the players that are causing you to be angry on a Saturday night/Wednesday morning. By expecting us to win eleventy nil you're setting yourself up for a great fall. I bet Chelsea fans weren't in uproar back in 1939 when they lost to 'little Grimsby' in the FA Cup quarter final…okay maybe there were but my point is that football isn't played on paper, the club with the biggest fanbase doesn't win every game. Spain won the World Cup without winning every game. Just because you're lack of Geography means you are unable to locate Hayes, Histon, and, Forest Green on a map doesn't mean that we should beat them.
We are in this league on merit, not because itv digital stole some money, not because Leicester or Portsmouth renegade on parachute payment back in 2001, or because Alan Pouton scored an goal at home to Reading from 45 yards. We're here because we're shit. We're shit, gettit? We're shit and have been for approximately 8 years (with the exception of 05/06 under Slade). After years of shit why oh why should we become "untouchables"?
If we're here on merit, then it's more than likely the players are as well. With exceptions, obviously, but it's likely as a shit team in the Conference that the players are going to be either injury prone journeymen or just not very good. If they could perform excellent every week do you seriously think they would be playing once a fortnight in North East Lincolnshire?
Back to the England team, if they were that good do you not think they'd be plying their trade at Real Madrid or Barcelona rather than Aston Villa reserves?
I suppose we could blame Alan Buckley for his success on his return in 1997, maybe if we hadn't secured promotion at the first time of asking we wouldn't have had unrealistic expectations in 2002, or 2003. On the back of that relegation in 2004 we had a season of mid table nothingness - it was dull but a relief, no stress come May. The next season we occupied the top places all season, only to fall at the final hurdles at Macclesfield, Leyton, and, Cardiff. Then again throughout the 05/06 campaign people moaned at the performances, apparently winning wasn't good enough. And herein lies the problem, if the foolish amongst aren't happy with a win what chance have we got?