Football fans’ agony: it won’t hurt when the pain’s gone

The life of a football supporter
The life of a football supporter
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Is there anyone so ingenious, so resourceful and yet so self-deluding as a football fan in pain?

All over the country, all over the world even, supporters are waking up at this fag-end of the season with only those half-asleep seconds of ecstatic oblivion before the anger, agony and disappointment comes tumbling into consciousness.

Then the hurt and longing start again.

The chances that went begging, the injuries that changed the season, the blind referees and that header that hit the post on Boxing Day.

Lulled by sleep and a warm bed, we are at our most vulnerable in these moments.

But when our football fan realities come crashing in to our minds like cold water up your duvet there is no hiding place

So we invent one.

Throughout the morning we rebuild our shattered belief, our ragged dreams are patched up and re-imagined, blame is re-apportioned, scenarios revisited, solutions re-jigged.

One Doncaster Rovers lifer of this parish was to be heard yesterday coming up with the parable of the ‘in a way you’re better off’ fan.

In this tale of bright-side thinking the supporter looks forward and says: “Do I really want to be trekking four hours to Fulham next season for a good hiding and a traffic jam when I can be tootling off to Notts County just down the motorway and coming back with three points and be home in time for Strictly?”

Of course not says he, bathed in the soothing balm of common (non)sense completely ignoring the fact that there will be midweek nights against Crawley and Colchester where fresh good hidings could just as easily be suffered.

But of course he has a point.

Why struggle to be the best when you can settle for not being the worst eh?

Why try and fail against the big lads when you can dominate lesser clubs?

Sorry mate. It won’t last.

Come next season the agonies will have faded, those morning moments filled with other doubts.

By then we’ll be full of ideas and ambition and reaching for those illusory stars again.

Because there’s no-one so ingenious or resourceful and yet so self-deluding as a football fan when the pain’s gone.