The GoatyGav Column
I remember signing the above words, to the tune of ‘let’s all do the conga’ but with an unrepeatable between ‘So’ & ‘Fickle’, on the terraces of the North Bank back in the ‘80’s. One minute we’re hailing players as the new Messiah, the next they’re “Not the Messiah – they’re a very naughty boy!”
Don’t get me wrong – some players deserve the stick. I know he’s probably going to be the HOTY but I was just a little bit vexed at Arnie for his lax stroll towards the ball, in an off-side position, for Fernandes’ excellent strike. Sometimes his attitude is all wrong for me but his overall contribution to the team, this season, has been superb.
When it comes to players some are class and some show form. There’s no doubt that Arnie is class but, frankly, he’s not the only one. There are others, who’ve already won the coveted HOTY title, who deserve better support.
Matchdays are a hotbed of emotion at the best of times – entirely bellicose at others. The WHTID forum is no different. All those powerful feelings pulling your insides around like the churning of your matchday shirt and lucky undies in the washing machine. Words, and no doubt, gestures just seem to emerge without invitation. Just pop up with the irrepressibility of weeds in spring (like most of my garden at the moment). It’s a release which does show that we have passion and care but I do wonder, sometimes, whether the same words would appear on threads at other times.
We’re all guilty of it. Whilst we have our favourite players we also have those that we don’t fancy so much. It’s human nature. Earlier this season I, regretfully, suggested that Mark Noble looked past it. How wrong I was and extremely happy about it I am. Egg on my face bigtime. Although not everyone agreed I thought the skipper was superb on Monday night. Another who has come in for a lot of stick this season has been Kouyate. Ok, so box to box midfielders are becoming old hat in the modern game, but he’s definitely one with class and a temporary dip in form. The injuries haven’t helped. Like Antonio I really don’t think he has deserved the stick he’s received. I’d like nothing more than for Nobes, Chek and Michail to have the seasons of their lives in ’18-’19. Perhaps less work on endorsements might help…….
Only joshin’. We know where the hamstring problems have come from and the look on Michail’s face when it went after 9 mins of the Southampton game said it all for me. Gutted for him. Personally I’d like to see some science, or at least stats, behind the amount of injuries that occur at teams who play on larger pitches compared to smaller ones.
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When I found myself venting my spleen at a particular player I’ve often come to regret it later on. At matches I now prefer to stay tight lipped if I think any of the lads on the pitch are below par or, in the worst case, a liability. In our minds we’re all there, on the pitch, kicking each ball and making each run which is why so many of us vociferously express our exasperation.
In the current squad there isn’t a single player who the fans attending games have ‘turned on’. In the odd game, here and there, and, possibly, over the course of 3-4 matches there are first teamers who’ve been getting a bit of grief but, thankfully, nothing too nasty or sustained.
After my praise for the club last week I, unfortunately, have to report that the flag for the coffin at today’s (tomorrow as I write) funeral of Alan Thurston didn’t arrive on time. A real shame. I’ve no idea why this was as Debs, Alan’s sister, has been trying to find out what’s happened to it since Tuesday. Debs has told me that she thinks she’s managed to get hold of one but I’ll be taking one of mine as backup just in case.
As for our hopes of staying up now I’m optimistic. Not counting chickens but I expect us to put some points on the board which will make it very difficult for Stoke and Southampton to catch us. Of the two Stoke look more up for the fight. Yes, they could win 3 games, but I really don’t think they’ll manage it. Palace will, at least, get a draw and Burnley are simply too good for them. That leaves Liverpool and Swansea making it a big ask. Then you’ve got the others between us and the bottom 3 as well. This is West Ham, however, so it would be unwise to think we’re ‘safe’ just yet.
I’ll be at the Arsenal game on Sunday where I hope we get something. Definitely not beyond the realms of possibility with the Gunners having one eye on their big Semi Final against Athletico Madrid. A point there and things will look even better. Dare I dream we take all 3?