Paradise Lost

After seven warm-up fixtures (eight if you choose to include the kick-around at Dukinfield Town) it's time for the real stuff to begin.

Forty two plus games where there's something riding on almost every result. Over 63 hours of potentially nerve destroying football in which heroes will rise and fall, joy will battle it out with misery for our emotions and everybody is always the mythical 'one game' away from something - be it a big cup tie, a play-off spot or even administration.

Unlike the proverbial box of chocolates which actually comes with a sheet detailing what each piece of confectionery is, you really don't know what you're going to get to next in football.

The question that's bothering me though is this. Despite all of the above, why do I feel so enormously uninterested about the new season?

Seriously, this isn't a 'look at me, look at me' Julie Birchill-esque attention seeking claim - I really cannot call up a single ounce of excitement for what may be about to come. To all intents and purposes, it might as well be an unending list of friendly matches stretching out before us for all the enthusiasm I can muster. Nine months of matches for which the only feelings I can generate are similar to those reserved for end of season matches between two sides abandoned in mid-table obscurity - neither of whom I support.

If I could represent my feelings with a visual image it would be a shrug.

Regular readers of the blog (you merry few) will know that my fervour for football has been, let's say, 'damp' over the course of the friendlies. Although to be truthful that is usually the case with me for pre-season games but the encroaching dawn of a new season usually sees the bounce in me return. This time however things are different. No excitement, no nothing.

It's weird because even though our final game of last season was a defeat, I left the Manchester Premier Cup Final at Boundary Park on a high. The defeat meant nothing, I was simply proud to be a Mossley supporter. A little over three months later and it's all change.

It could be that it's football as a whole I'm falling out of love with. Match of the Day is no longer a must watch and I barely tune in to see live games on the television any more. International matches, Champions League games, FA Cup ties... I can't remember the last time I actually sat down with the intention of watching any of them. May be it's this that's largely affecting the enjoyment I've had watching my home town team for over twenty years.

What I do know for a fact is that the events at Seel Park early this summer are partly to blame for my indifference. I don't really want to re-open what are still relatively fresh wounds but I reached a stage of total ambivalence.

I know, I'm "not a true fan" (and frankly that nonsense is another contributory reason for my apathy) for thinking such a thing but a third consecutive summer comprising of rumour, uncertainty and being made to feel like a mushroom was one off-season too many for me. It dawned on me that there are other more important things in life for me to worry about (money, a job that could soon be an ex-job) than the continuing trials and tribulations of Mossley AFC, and I realised that I'd probably be better off focusing on them instead.

I'm not diminishing the actions of others here, far from it. Kudos to those who stood up and were counted when the crunch came and rallied to keep the club alive. Being the member of the committee, a steward on match days or someone who puts up the netting isn't for me but I have enormous respect for those who choose to do it.

Why have I told you all this? I've no idea really. I was kind of hoping that it would help explain why I haven't been posting ten to the dozen as usual on the forum. Why some of the forthcoming match reports may be a little more downbeat than usual or why there might not be quite so many reports from away games this year - even the neutral ones I normally see when I can't get to see Mossley.

However I think it has been more of a cathartic experience for me than anything else; the chance to get something off my chest that's been bothering me for a while. Who knows? Now my thoughts are out in the open, like love or a demand from HMR&C for unpaid taxes, maybe the excitement of a new season will arrive suddenly and unexpectedly.

If it's going to I wish it would hurry up and do so or else the next nine months could feel like nine years.


Nik @ Oops said...
1:57 pm

I think you're on to something with the knock-on effect theory. There comes a point when you wonder why the hell you bother, when those you put your trust in by handing over admission money, beer money, programme money, to run the club continue to let you down. Maybe it's just us being naive? Has football always been like this, and we just never noticed?

SJNR said...
3:01 pm

I think it always has been like this.

That said my problem isn't a question of trust (though it possibly could be if I look deep enough) but more one of tiredness and awareness.

There's an Oz analogy in here somewhere too in that I've seen behind the curtain and things are never going to be quite the same again.

Whether any of that makes any sense though?