Ah, you just can’t buy Sundays like that. Not only did looking (repeatedly) at the league tables bring a warm glow, but I found on arrival that the gym was closed. Saved money and had an insurmountable obstacle in the way of torturing myself – for a week at least. Gave more time for .... looking at the league tables. I can only claim to have seen the goals from Saturday, but what a beauty from Semedo! If it had been scored in the Premiership they would have been drooling over it for hours. Hopefully many more to come (and hopefully the DVD of the past two seasons will be delayed until this season’s becomes available, to help offset the misery; no implied criticism for the delay - which in contrast to certain other matters has been fully explained to fans - just another example of my needing my bumps felt for stumping up for something that will only see the light of day when I feel like a real mope).
Nevertheless, the abiding thought today is based on Willard listening to Kilgore. “Some day this war’s going to end”. Some day we are going to lose, in a campaign that fundamentally we don’t want to be in. Five games into it and already hopes and expectations have been turned away from Killer’s relegation warning, from thoughts of building a new team and in the interim watching exciting games full of goals and errors, and towards just winning every game and getting the hell out of here and back to the Championship. I’m already getting blasé in text updates to my partner Suzanne. Walsall: ‘0-0 but it’s too easy’; Tranmere: ‘H-t bit disappointing, we’re only 2-0 up’. I didn’t even feel the usual gut-wrenching tension on Saturday when they said on the radio ‘there’s been another goal at Tranmere’.
It’s not pride coming before a fall; rather it’s the unavoidably growing – but hopelessly unrealistic – thought that we should be winning these games. I know it’s wrong (and alien to our nature, forged through years of experience), and hopefully nobody at the club has similar thoughts. But every time I look at the fixtures coming up I’m thinking, ‘yep, three points’. With the possible and obvious exception of Leeds – who seem to have a striker a cut above this league (come on, somebody buy him) – what is there to challenge us (transfer deadline notwithstanding)?
I guess it’s just part and parcel of being a natural born contrarian. Why not just enjoy it? Well, that’s just too easy. Turn winning into just the way things should be and you strip out the glory. I guess it’s going to last until we get turned over by someone on a cold, wet and windy afternoon. Yes, I do remember us going for that 13th straight win at home to Swindon. Let it not be Millwall.
At least over the past couple of weeks I have felt able to peruse the fixture list with only a slight sense of nausea. Brentford and Southampton at home coming up. Norwich away. I’ve just sent an email to Suzanne explaining what a pleasant city Norwich is and how it would be a good idea to plan a day trip there when she is next in London. She knows me well enough to spot the obvious, but she just might go for it. Further out its a little disappointing that the trip to Brighton and the dodgems on the pier (if it’s still there) is tucked away on a Tuesday evening – and that for some reason we play Carlisle away only 15 games into the season. I don’t think that 42 points going into that game would be enough to ensure promotion with another victory. Maybe we can turn history on its head by going up at home to them (in April). Promotion with six games to spare would probably be acceptable – and give us some leeway if as I hope we tell the league that we just don’t want to – or rather feel it is inappropriate to - play Millwall and let them have the points.
So these are the variations of lunacy that five out of five inspire. But on the subject of starts to the season my adopted French team, Lyon Duchere (not the Lyon team that has squeaked through to the Champions League), seem to have come out of the traps in similar fashion to us. They started the season with a comprehensive 3-0 home win against Villefranche-sur-Saone (a team/town which I have a soft spot for, as it marks the start of wine country going north from Lyon), and after the away fixture against GFCO Ajaccio was postponed have recorded two more straight wins. The first of these must have been by 2-0 at home, but for some reason the France Football website doesn’t list this round of games (even I’m not sad enough to work out from the table who it was against). Most recently La Duch won 1-0 away at the utterly unlovely Andrezieux (I know it’s unlovely because last season Suzanne and I drove there to watch Duchere lose to a last-minute scrambled effort).
So having played only three games to four for most teams, Lyon Duchere stand proudly at the top of their division (CFA Groupe B). Can we both keep it going? I don’t get to visit Lyon again until November. I will be sacrificing the home game against Milton Keynes Dons to go Beaune for the wine auctions (just to watch – as well as eat and drink). But the compensation comes in the form of being able to take in a midweek home fixture for Duchere against Lyon B. This was pointed out by Suzanne (yet more evidence of someone needing their bumps felt), so maybe there’s a fighting chance of making it to Norwich after all.