It’s a funny old game, football. Takes all sorts too. While Leeds fans were venting some well-justified spleen at their misfiring players and management following the debacle at Rochdale, West Ham’s supporters, by contrast were waxing somewhat more philosophical – give or take one weeping kid – during their own side’s 0-5 mauling at Nottingham Forest. Or so it would appear, anyway, from reading the not entirely reliable internet outlet which is HF’s “The Game’s Gone Crazy”.
It was interesting, watching the Un’appy ‘Ammers disintegrate at the City Ground. The travelling Clarets support got glummer and glummer as the game went on – and the distress of that one poor little soul reduced to tears at the humiliation of his favourites by these Norvern (to him) upstarts was especially heart-rending. It really can be quite upsetting, the way TV cameras tend to zoom in on weeping infants these days when a team’s having a crisis. We at Leeds know this all too well.
Leeds were awful at Rochdale and West Ham were equally awful at Forest. The ‘Ammers manager, Fatuous Sam, chose blithely to shrug off what was an appalling defeat. “I’m the manager,” he said. “I make the decisions.” There wasn’t too much sympathy in evidence for the suffering supporters. At least Brian McDermott for Leeds acknowledged that the United display had been unacceptable. Fatuous Sam seems to react rather testily at any suggestions mere fans might be critical of his team selections. This is, after all, a man who feels that he would win everything if put in charge of a truly big club. It seems amazing that no real giant of the game has ever taken him up on such a confident prediction. Perhaps they’re mixing him up with Mike Bassett? On the evidence of the Forest defeat, the fictional comedy England boss might just be a better bet.
The hapless West Ham fan blogger who much prefers to write of bigger clubs had evidently turned on his favourite target of all as a sort of therapy in defeat. It’s understandable in a way. Mired in the relegation zone and looking to be on the downhill run out of the Big Time, there’s not a lot of inspiration in writing about the ‘Ammers, is there? But it’s a shame his research lets him down. In his haste to revive memories of a famous Leeds FA Cup defeat at Colchester 43 years ago, HF mentions that even Bremner couldn’t spare United such a humiliation. But as is quite well-known among real football fans, Bremner wasn’t in the team that day – as he frequently reminded people for years afterwards. It also, apparently, took Don Revie three years to get Leeds “into the Prem”. Not too bad, HF. Only thirty years out with the terminology.
The tragedy of the thing is, this amateur is in far too much of a hurry to recycle his tired old standbys (such as “The Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond” – yawn, yawn) to bother with petty considerations such as research. And boy, does it show. Reading his blog is strictly for hard times – or for those, like me, who feel the occasional need to monitor him and to put him firmly but kindly in his place.
Things could be worse though. HF is a pretty poor blogger – I can’t think of any worse off the top of my head, and that includes several particularly deluded Man U examples – but by the side of the team he ostensibly supports and that team’s fat and fatuous manager, he doesn’t look all that bad. Perhaps he will do better next year when Leeds and West Ham are in the same division. Then he can abandon his wet-behind-the-ears attempts at condescension, and start shooting from the hip, especially when the ‘Ammers face either of their two Cup Finals against the Mighty Leeds. It might even do him some good and make him that bit more readable. You never know – it really is a funny old game.