Thursday, January 03, 2008


Sometimes I find it hard to talk to people who aren't football fans.

I went to last night's turgid, frozen match between Bolton and Derby with Bolton's smallest ever Premier League crowd.

Reasons why Bolton fans may not have turned up :-

* It was freezing.
* It was the first day back at work for most people.
* It was a night match.
* It was on Sky.
* Derby are unglamorous opponents.
* Purse strings are tight because of the recent festivities.

But 17,000 people who knew it was cold, who knew that Derby would not be Brazil-in-disguise and who knew that Bolton would not be at their best still dragged themselves along.

But their committment was as nothing compared to that of the couple of hundred Derby fans who made the trip over.

Reasons why Derby fans may not have turned up :-

* As per Bolton's reasons, except more so.
* Their team have won once out of 21 games and are definitely getting relegated this season

But a few hundred Derby fans did make the trip and they out-sang Bolton, singing that Derby are the greatest football team. Even after the Bolton goal went in, they were still singing, and when their defeated defenders and goalkeeping were arguing their way off the pitch, they were still singing.

Football fans, true football fans, never stop believing. Every set-back is a temporary blip and they believe in the long-run that their team will prevail. To a Derby fan, this season has been a wonderful adventure that they will learn from. Next year they will take their parachute payment when they fall and come back in two years time and win the Premiership. Meanwhile, they're going to scare the carp out of a few teams and never give up the fight. Some may even even believe that Derby will escape relegation this year, but these people have crossed the thin line between Belief and Delusion.

I like to be around people who believe that defeat can lead to strength and that lost causes are worth fighting and who never stop believing. These people are worth a dozen whiners who lose heart when things turn slighly downwards.

Like I say, sometimes I find it hard to talk to people who aren't football fans.

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