Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Mighty vs Wigan Athletic - a shit preview

I am writing with a raging hangover. The kind where it feels as if your eyes are being levered out of their sockets by small spoons. The kind that comes with a side order of existential dread. What's the point in my existence? Have I wasted my life to this point? Is it much too late to do anything about it?

Fear not, for it's football tomorrow. That'll cheer me up no end! Honestly... I have no expectations. Stephen Dobbie is a top chap and I hope we can go out in a blaze of glory. It would be lovely just to feel a bit of pride and warmth towards the players.

We could still stay up but me insisting the we're not doomed and we're just a favourable bounce of the ball away from being brilliant has miserably failed to inspire triumph and delight all season, so instead, I think I'll just accept whatever I'm served up.

Football is a great game. It's snakes and ladders and there's no point being like a 4 year-old who only wants to play 'ladders' and refuses to accept the presence and purpose of the snakes.

Over bank holiday I was away and I happened to drive through Hereford just around kick off time. There's worse fates than going down to Div 3 is probably the point. Edgar Street should be preserved for all time though. Standing outside marvelling at the irregular corrugated iron and the overall ramshackle tacked together appearance of it all was an appeal to memory of what things were once like.

When I started following the Mighty, almost every ground was a piecemeal construction of sheets of metal, strips of rusting barbed wire, uneven roofing and faded paint. Bloomfield Road today would have seemed like the far future. Wigan's ground an absolute fantasy.

I miss those days. I miss Springfield Park - an oval of cold comforts with grass (grass!) bankings. I miss the many quirks of Bloomfield Road, the way the terracing ran to below pitch level, the faded roof of the East Paddock, the ancient wooden seats with the ancient wooden smell in the West Stand, the ridge in the side of the pitch that a canny full back could exploit when lobbing the ball down the line.

We play a team tomorrow with as little hope as we have. Both of us on an almost certain hiding to nothing. A win will likely only prolong the agony. A good performance will probably provoke a feeling of 'what if?'

I don't know what the point of this (or indeed any) blog is really. I think what I'm trying to tell myself is, that for all the misery of the season, it's important to remember to try and enjoy the game. There's something wonderfully stubborn and futile about football. Hereford's famous old ground, clinging on despite their fall from grace. 10,000 plus people turning up at Bloomfield Road to watch two almost certainly doomed sides scrap out a game that will likely have no more impact than deciding who finished bottom.

There's a certain beauty in that. Football is so much noise and so much opinion. For all of that, for all the endless words, sometimes you are shit and that's the way it has to be. Tomorrow we just need to be less shit than Wigan. 3 points and... Y'never know...



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