IT’S good that football followers (and players if you like to bracket them together) are optimists rather than realists.
Usually a single, solitary win can have them seeing glory ahead. Or, at least, cling on to the hope.
Take Sheffield Wednesday this week. They won at Oldham and I heard the words “play-off” mentioned.
This is despite the fact that they are 15 points off the sixth-placed club, a pretty damning statistic but one immediately soothed with the words “but we’ve three games in hand”.
Yes, it’s wonderful that there are those who are so optimistic - or is it blind faith? - that they can even mention it from such a situation.
Probably whilst blithely ignoring the fact that are eight teams between them and that faraway play-off place. And having so many teams above them is as much a problem as that massive gap itself.
Incidentally, they are eight points from a relegation place. Nobody is looking down though.
Of course, whilst never saying never, there are realists who are expecting next year to be their year.
It all reminds me of the season when it wasn’t so much supporters as Neil Warnock who barely stopped mentioning the play-offs during the second half of a season - even though Sheffield United climbed above 13th just once!
Talking of the Blades, that long-awaited first win for Micky Adams this week has even got some Unitedites optimistic despite the fact they aren’t any better off - other than the fact they won and everyone gets a lift.
Perhaps it was who they beat that got the optimists searching their memory bank and talking of omens.
That’s because every Blade knows it was a win over Nottingham Forest which sparked the greatest escape.
United’s return to top flight football in 1990, then still called the First Division, had been a disaster. They didn’t manage their first win until December 22 when they beat Forest at Bramall Lane.
As we, and every little grandkid who’s sat on the knee of his Grandad Blade knows, Dave Bassett’s side then went on to avoid relegation.
So, can another win over Forest spark another unlikely escape? Unitedites are just a touch more optimistic.
Optimism often seems to be sparked from not the greatest of positions. Yet pessimists can look at things differently.
Rotherham United lost in midweek to further loosen their grip on the challenge for automatic promotion. And some grumblers were even reckoning “they won’t make the play-offs.” This despite the fact the nearest challenger outside the play-offs is seven points behind.
So, 15 points behind yet someone can mention play-offs; six points behind and one win in 15 and there’s a whole new mood in the survival fight.
But be seven points ahead and you’re not going to do it. Perhaps they’re not all optimists then!
n It could be that the sport’s supremo Bernie Ecclestone has made an inadvertent admission that Formula One is the most boring sport going.
He wants to introduce “artificial rain” during races. Spice things up a bit see. Anything, you might reckon, to make it a bit more interesting - which shouldn’t be difficult!
I’ve seen other suggestions that Bernie might like to take on board. Perhaps a bit of fog. Or make the track a bit like the road you drive on to work and have a few potholes in it.
My suggestion is that when they go into the pits for a tyre change or whatever, then the driver should have to make a packed lunch.
Then he’s got to have eaten it before the chequered flag with the winner the one with the fewest crumbs on the floor.
Sounds a great idea!