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The Season Starts Now


In the aftermath of a 6-1 defeat, the reaction of the vast majority of a fan-base is always going to be one tinged with the disappointment and angst that comes with having to endure such a long and painful afternoon.

However, in Town’s case, this defeat to the current Champions of England is not one that will define Town’s season nor is it one that will consign Town to relegation either.

Over the course of the past season and the beginning of this one, we have experienced first hand the stranglehold that the Top Six has over the league and yesterday was a brutal and timely reminder of that.

There are anomalies: Brighton’s victory over Manchester United at the AMEX being one of them but let’s not compare a dysfunctional out-of-sorts Manchester United to this record-breaking Manchester City side.

This piece isn’t justifying Town’s performance yesterday or the approach taken which has seen David Wagner take criticism from certain quarters. What it is doing, however, is offering perspective.

As a fan of one of the fourteen clubs outside of the Top Six, what I have learned is the trick to the Premier League is isolating results.

Rather than being carried away with the euphoria of a win or being crushed by the desolate feeling of defeat (especially when it is one of such a great margin), we have to collectively hold our nerve.

We have one of the youngest managers in the entire division and one of the youngest average age starting line-ups of the Premier League. Mistakes are bound to happen but they will also be learned from. We have to recognise and accept that.

For me, what yesterday’s performance showed was there is a rift between Town fans, between those that feel Town need to change their approach going into these types of games and those who saw the trip to the Etihad as a near impossible task.

There is also a noticeable divide within this fanbase between those that would rather see Town try and play more open and expansively and those that accept the attempted pragmatism of containing the opposition and stealing a result.

I, myself, fall somewhere in the middle. What I would say, however, is once in-fighting begins on the terraces and fingers begin to be pointed, apportioning blame to others, that is what will hurt this football club far greater than yesterday’s performance or result.

Second season syndrome is the buzz phrase which is continuously associated with this football club and to an extent, it is as much of an issue for us as fans as it is on the pitch.

From the terrace to on the pitch itself, we have to show the same level of hunger and togetherness which proved so vitally important last season. We cannot let the novelty of the Premier League wear off and at the same time, we also cannot raise our expectations too high and be disappointed when Town fall short.

After defeats to the current and former Champions, now is the time not for a post-mortem but to fight. It is the time we dig in our heels and prove that we are worthy of our place in the Premier League.

It is time for us to show courage and bravery as fans if we want the same to be shown on the pitch.

The message from David Wagner has been a simple, concise one. The season starts now and we as fans need to get behind the side and re-find the spirited togetherness that has carried us this far, starting on Saturday.