Well, here we go, it’s the closed season, the rumours are buzzing, passes continue to sell, we resolve for now the situation surrounding Ben Crooks and Jacob Miller features longer on the stage of the Player of the Year awards, than he has done for months on the pitch!
Mad Monday has passed even if a few of the headaches haven’t, but our early exit from the competitive side of things before the play offs, means that many of the staff are still around and with pre season training starting at the end of October, the second half of that month seems to be favourite for players holidays. Some are to travel far afield and others it appears are planning to chill out in the sun while unsurprisingly Lisa and the kids are taking Yeamo to Disney World!! But life goes on and as we all scratch around for information and news, there are still a few ‘whiffs’ about this week and still a bit to talk about!
Adam Pearson’s rallying call in an excellent interview with Gwilym Lloyd before the game was, I have to say, one of the most convincing and positive ones I’ve heard him give! In fact for the first time for a while I didn’t find myself saying, “Here we go again!”
Then, as if he had gone into the dressing room and given the players the script (play crap for the first 60 minutes then finish ‘em off on a high and leave the fans wanting more), first we witnessed 60 minutes of some pretty pathetic stuff from both sides, before we manufactured a glorious finale to the game and the season, which had the KC absolutely rocking! He (Adam) couldn’t have stage managed it better and at the end of the game, I fully expected to find our owner at the bottom of the East Stand Stair Well, stopping people going home, until they signed up for a season ticket. On a serious note though at least for him, for once, it went right!
As a fan, well had we played out of our skins for the first hour and then blow it (as usual) in the last 20, I would be moaning and focussing my thoughts on the last bit. As we were pretty crap for 60 minutes but nothing short of amazing for the last quarter, believe me, I’ll be focusing on the last bit, because entertainment wise it was simply as good as it gets, not just on the field, but on the terraces too.
I was frustrated for much of the game and bloody loved it for the last 20 minutes, when we quite literally blew the Cup winners away! In the magic of the moment I remember thinking; who cares what went before we have beaten Rovers and Leeds, we all ‘hate ‘em’ both and so it was a decent ending to a long and often tedious season. In addition however I would also pose the question to everyone reading this, “Is there anywhere better in the world to be, than amongst that fabulous FC family, at a game like that?” I have difficulty remembering such a fight back, especially against Leeds, the masters of shutting up shop and grinding those wins out. Since the 60’s we have produced some stirring performances against them and usually against the odds because it’s part of a long tradition, but few have seen a better finale than that one on Friday.
The singing and chanting was superb and the final chorus of ‘We all hate Leeds’, was sung by everyone from the youngsters with their Mums and Dads to old folks waiving their walking sticks in the air; we’ve seen it all before and yet just loved the moment! It was a great ending to a strange, strange game, but a really fitting send off for Horney and Aaron.
You see, in some circumstances I don’t actually mind losing! Yesterday was a satisfying performance but then against a frustrating loss in, as has been the case all season, a game we should have won!
I always want to win and I’m always sad and disappointed when we don’t, but when there is little at stake you do look beyond that a bit for some hope and a few indicators of progress. I think as fans most of us look for a performance in these sorts of game and for me at least there were plenty to be positive about at Huddersfield yesterday. I was just looking for some heart and some tenacity. The Giants pack got ‘over us’ for periods of the game and the referee was instrumental and again remembered for all the wrong reasons. However we also scored some good tries and with five minutes to go, were still within one score of getting something against the in-form hosts. For a match against a team on a roll, who have looked really good of late, I think driving there I might just have taken that!
So, there was little for this fan to be really annoyed about this week and I had a good afternoon out. I guess I was still enjoying the glow of a great derby win that has been all everyone has wanted to talk about this past week and at Huddersfield, but in a carnival atmosphere we did at least enjoy an absorbing and pretty even contest that once again, like so many times this term, we could and should have won!
“We owe ourselves a performance, we owe the fans a performance, we owe the club a performance and the 17 who participate on Friday night owe themselves a huge effort.” So said Lee Radford before what turned out for me to be another nerve tingling, gut wrenching roller coaster of a game, but one that for once, ended in total ecstasy, a few tears and a feeling of redemption. And in addition to all that there was a strange sort of elation I hadn’t experienced since the semi final last year!
All week I’d been fed up with the media, as comments like ‘A red and whitewash” were all the rage, while Gardener was cited as, “Setting his sights on some more big hits” and Mr Lloyd and Mr Richardson were, well, their ‘usual selves’. However in the end it was a ‘black and whitewash’ and after Ellis had cut Adie boy in half with a thundering tackle, that was the last we saw of him and he soon retired with concussion. (That l might just teach him to keep it shut!)
For once, in a long time, we actually wanted it more than they did! We were mean-minded throughout and we sustained that mood for the full 80 minutes. I’m not one for ‘complete performances’ but our defence was as close as it gets, while no one who was not emotionally involved in the maelstrom of supporting either team would have guessed that the Dobbins were the only ones who had anything to play for on the night. We showed the necessary strength, passion, mental toughness and arrogance you need in these games and it was a glorious victory, the first nil in a derby for 28 years and the first time Rovers have been nilled in one since 1957.
Who was it who said it’s the bad times that make these good ones so good?? (Oh yeh now I remember!) Well Bradford was as bad as it gets but who would have conceived such a performance would follow in our next game? Its par for the course with us lot I know, but that was such a mauling and such a complete demolition job, it was hard for the ordinary fan not to believe towards the end that any time soon you’d wake up in bed. Most of the time, as an FC fan, I envy the stamp collectors and train spotters of this world but how they must have envied me at ten to ten last Friday! What a night eh, I wanted that minute or two after the hooter to last forever.