Now, I do understand how the media works. How it distills complex multi-layered stories into a simple central narrative fit for half interested punters who, ultimately, pay its bills (let’s face it, it’s not you and I, because we’re usually at the match).
So, I understand why Setanta’s central theme yesterday was all about Burton and ultimately its failure. The transition from ‘non-league’ (for this read a non-competition) to football league is the greatest in English football and I understand that this makes good airtime.
But it would it have been too much to acknowledge that a sixth of Burton’s record crowd were not there to celebrate their (surely) imminent ascent. Or that Adam Chapman’s goal was from a drawer someway beyond non-league. That, perhaps, something is happening at Oxford that is good and exciting.
Or perhaps it would have been nice to talk to some Oxford players or staff after the game. Or, as a minimum, perhaps they could have blamed Burton fans for the post-match pitch invasion instead of claiming it was irate Oxford supporters.
Yup, the Conference and its devil mouth piece hate us. Love the money it makes from our profile, but hate us. We are jumped up privileged university students who are being rightly spanked for the ‘crimes’ of being jumped up privileged university students. Like a bunch of boorish toffs, we travel the country expecting others to roll over and let us take their young. But, hah, good, solid, hard-working ‘proper’ non-leaguers made up of postmen and plumbers being dragged up by their boot-straps are rubbing our snooty noses in it.
These stereotypes are convenient; it is widely ignored that Burton are more stable than us and that this all but assured their promotion from day one. In this sense our turnaround is more remarkable than their promotion. The results, of course, have been an important factor but the financial difficulties, points deduction, the fan revolution and the sheer bloody legacy and expectation make this a story richer and more intriguing than that of the champions. Not that Setanta will ever acknowledge that, that would spoil the story.
We will forever be the bete noir of the Conference. Next season we will compete against toughened non-league perennials and ex-league victims of incompetent and criminal administrations (unlike us, of course). Our story and our success will only ever be for us alone.