“I’m as ecstatic about staying up as anyone else, but part of me thinks that if Che was allowed to do a lap of honour on Sunday, then so should I since I used up more energy getting frustrated with him all year than he ever did on the pitch.”
In between playing in a punk band and working in an aquatics shop, I spent much of my teenage years studying English literature at Solihull Sixth Form College. Other than the year we spent analysing Shakespeare, I found it to be a pretty dull course (apologies to Mrs Thompson, although I’m sure she’ll never actually read this!) One thing I did find interesting though was the writing technique known as ‘Pathetic Fallacy’.
For those of you fortunate enough not to have sat through one of Mrs T’s lessons (I’m SURE she’ll never see this) a pathetic fallacy is the attachment of human emotions and actions to inanimate objects. For example; “the sun smiled down on St Andrews as the boys in blue cemented their survival”, or “the ball screamed off of Jukey’s boot as the stadium erupted” or perhaps “even the weary desks began to yawn as Mrs Thompson droned on”.
Another way writers use pathetic fallacy is to make the weather in the story mirror the feelings of the characters. There is no better example of this than Sunday against Fulham.
We’ve had a long old winter with so much snow that a small family of Eskimos have moved in down the bottom of my garden. Lovely couple, bloke talks about ice fishing a bit too much but keeps a tidy igloo. It’s almost fitting that on the day our fortunes finally turned, the clouds cleared and Mr Blue Sky was treated to a front row seat to one of the performances of the season. Much like the Blues fans, the sun was out in full force and the brighter days that we’ve been longing for finally arrived.
All of the post-game articles that you’ve read have said the same thing. Every player was worth his weight in gold and it’d be just as hard to single out one man for specific praise as it would to find anyone undeserving of the accolades. Some writers have claimed Wes was the man of the match, others have gone for Jota. Some highlighted Stockdale’s world-class saves, others have heaped praise onto Max Colin. I’ll wager none of the others have mentioned pathetic fallacy or Eskimos though…!
These other writers are correct, Wes ensured that Sessegnon was so ineffective that the Cottagers didn’t sing a single song about him. The ever ablaze Mitrovic was completely cancelled out by Dean and Morro whilst Davis and Dutch Mike ran the midfield like a couple of schoolyard bullies before spreading the ball out to the fast kids on the wing. J-Mags continued to play his way towards his Player of the Season award and Jota frustrated the opposition so much that at one point Johansen just charged into him with a red card worthy shoulder tackle that wouldn’t be out of place in the NFL.
Though I do wish Fulham all the best, they were off the boil on Sunday and we got what we fully deserved. When we sacked Stevie-C back in March, I was worried that it was too late in the day for a comeback and League One was beckoning. How wrong I was though. Gazza, Jimmy and the real Pep have turned this club around and Blues fans are excited for what next season will bring. We’ve ended this horrendous season on a high and in the end managed to go out with our heads held high, safe in the knowledge that we fought the good fight. Is this jubilation warranted though?
Well ultimately yes it is. As fans, we got what we deserved in the end. Our support has been unwavering and we sang all the way through to the death, even when relegation seemed more of an inevitability than a concern. We can all look forward to a nice relaxing summer, safe in the knowledge that the slate is wiped clean next season and we’ve got no football to dampen our moods. Well, until the World Cup kicks off and England get put to the sword by Panama anyway.
Should it have come to this though? We’re all in high spirits and we’re wrapping the players up in comfort blankets of compliments for how they dragged themselves out of the drop zone, but we should not and can not forget how we ended up in this plight, to begin with.
I’ve written about Cotterill’s ineptitude, the board’s failings and the backstage politics numerous times, but when the whistle is blown for kick off, it’s the 11 lads on the pitch that are responsible for their own actions.
We cannot overlook the fact that David Davis has been a shadow of his former self this season and Che Adams somehow regressed from being an exciting prospect to the laziest guy in the locker room. Part of me thinks that if Che was allowed to do a lap of honour on Sunday, then so should I since I used up more energy getting frustrated with him all year than he ever did on the pitch.
Maybe it’s unfair of me to focus on those two, as no one should be exempt from criticism throughout the majority of the season. Max Colin is probably the only guy I’d give a pass to and for that reason he’s my POTS. Don’t get me wrong, J-Mags was often the catalyst for our survival but he also had his moments of absence.
I’m not intentionally writing a slash piece on the team and I’m certainly not trying to put the breaks on any survival celebrations. I’m as ecstatic about staying up as anyone else, but let’s put the season into perspective and remember that we played 33 horrific games before that sunny Sunday afternoon and only a handful of the remaining 13 were truly worth getting excited about.
I am however willing to let the past be the past and view the team in a new light under the leadership of Monk & Co. What happened in 17/18, stays in 17/18 and there’s no disputing that the way our season ended is cause for excited anticipation of what may be on the horizon. Perhaps staying up was actually the easy part? Monk created a feeling of positivity and resilience that carried us to safety. I dare say the REAL test is lurking round the corner, ready to pounce in August. Garry is quickly becoming a hero to Blues fans and if he says that this is the last relegation battle we’re going to have, then I for one believe him. I only hope that this time the players believe it too.
The team came through for us in the end, but it’s YOU that I wish to thank. It’s every one of you that sang your hearts out until your voices cracked. It’s every one of you that travelled the length and breadth of the county trying to will a win out of a struggling team. It’s every one of you that dared to believe in survival, even when the bookies had already sent us down. And it’s because of you, the fans, that we’ll be watching Championship football next year.
By Mark Watson
Photos by Andy Shaw