Suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, we all have it. A newfound sense of optimism. Admit it – after the Hull debacle, I’ll bet you, like me were suddenly looking over the league table not with the usual early season glee, but in sheer desperation to find at least 3 teams that would be worse than us come what May. So it would have been with a forbidding sense of dread that many of us would have felt ahead of the away match as Spurs. Well, it just goes to show anything can happen in 90 minutes.
If that last sentence wasn’t clichéd enough for you – here’s another. You’re only as good as your last game. Which right now makes us outstanding! The way we took apart a team assembled at a cost of over £100 million. The way that “Long Ball Sam” tactically outclassed one of the games supposed most forward thinkers. Based on the performance against Spurs, there is a newfound belief ahead of the Man City game that maybe – just maybe, our season starts here.
And why not? Buoyed by the sort of performance we have just witnessed, there are no reasons to believe we cannot match City every step of the way on Saturday. Let’s face it, devoid of such stars as Tevez, and with the new signings of Navas and Negredo yet to really find their feet, a victory is there for the taking. If Noble can shackle the outstanding Yaya Toure, and in turn we can get Diame and Morrison on the ball and surging towards their defence ala the big Ivorian, we can certainly cause them problems. Sure, we still lack a little bit of bite from our forwards department, but as we saw…who needs them? The crowd are back on side, and it’s sure to be an electric atmosphere under the Upton Park lights.
So – the players are doing the business for us, and the management team are doing the business for us. Yet we, as the fans, have an equally important role to play – and part of that is to not get caught up in the folly of the moment. In the wake of the Hull game, there was criticism of messers Sullivan and Gold, and calls for Sam Allardyce’s head. Just 8 days later, he’s a footballing genius. We can at times be a fickle bunch, but the best way to support our team is to stay level headed – whether we win loose or draw against City. Let’s not get too carried away with successes or too downhearted by our defeats.
As Rudyard Kipling once said in his famous poem “If” – and I paraphrase – If you can dream, but not make dreams your master, If you can think, but not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster; And treat those two impostors just the same.
Whilst I’m not using Kipling to put a dampener on the success at White Hart Lane, or indeed the sudden rise to prominence of the exceedingly good Ravel Morrison, we must not get caught up in the moment, but instead take a step back and recognise how far we have come as a club since the dark days of Icelandic consortiums and Avram Grant. There will be highs, and there will be lows. Players will hit form at different times, but let us not take the lead form sensationalist tabloids and build up players just to knock them down. We must ensure we enjoy the success of individuals without heaping additional pressure on them to perform, and likewise we must not turn on them, or the figureheads of our club when we undoubtedly hit another rocky patch. So whatever the result against City, let us be consistent in our support of the club going forward.
That said – a cautiously optimistic hope for a home win really would be the icing on the cake!