Sunday, March 09, 2008

Us 0 Burton 3

Just because two things correlate, doesn’t mean that one thing is causing the other. So, it may be true that teams lower down the league have more borderline decisions go against them, but that doesn’t mean teams are made poor by bad refereeing decisions. Derby County, for example, are not a Champions League contender on a bad run.

Likewise, just because the big teams have run-out music (Manchester United – This is the One by Stone Roses, Arsenal - Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim), doesn’t mean run out music makes the game anymore exciting. The recent switch at the Kassam to Guns and Roses’ clarion call – ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ does not make the ground, in any way, a jungle - as yesterday’s lame defeat proved.

Let’s face it; if you and I can’t wait for the season to end, and Darren Patterson can’t wait for the season to end, it is difficult to expect the players to care too much about what happens in these games.

But they’re professionals, you say, they’re paid good money, you say – and you’re right (though the money probably isn’t as good as many perceive). But, as everyone knows when things are going bad at work, the fact you’re a professional and being paid is not always enough to make you care. As a fan, the motivation for wanting to win – the cultural programming that aligns our status with that of our chosen club, the time and money we’ve wasted as punters – is different to the players; to them it’s just a job.

So like kids having a kick around in the park, there was a lot of enthusiasm at the start of yesterday’s game and we looked pretty good. But as soon as we went behind it was apparent there was little point in trying to claw it back. We’re just a team idling towards the end of the season. Everyone was just waiting for someone to shout ‘next goal wins’ so we could all go home. Next season the results it may be worse, they may be better, they may be the same – but it is likely that the input – the effort, in particular, will be completely different. As awful as yesterday’s result was, it won’t have much of a baring on how we shape up for next season.

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