Blimey, talk about the wisdom of crowds; there isn’t anything the Oxford United public doesn’t know about stadium management, matchday profit margins, groundsmanship, frost, blown pitch covers and leaky sprinklers. The messageboards have been awash with such discussion, even Radio Oxford, with time to kill and a skeleton staff on hand, dedicated a whole sports special to it.
Frozen Pitch-gate can now be filed next to Complacent Against Eastbourne-gate and Wilder Dissing the Fans-gate in this season’s folklore. Can we now get on with the real matter at hand? That of irrational panic.
It seems a bit churlish to predict our inevitable post-Yule slide based on us taking a one point over the Christmas period when only three have been on offer. Even if we let slip a win with the last minute equaliser against Salisbury.
The single premise upon which these jitters lie is that we always collapse post-Christmas – look at what happened three years ago. The parallels are evident.; the big Boxing Day game which ended in an anti-climax, followed by a disappointing draw, then there was a New Year’s Day defeat and no win until the middle of February. It feels like Groundhog Day. It’s ‘fate’. We’re fucked.
Except the only person left from those days is Billy Turley. Oh, and us. We can’t be blamed, of course, we’re perfect. So the inevitable failure that has no sign of happening must be Turley’s fault.
The loss of the big Boxing Day payout is clearly a blow to the business, but it may play to our advantage on the pitch.
The Rushden game was only afforded ‘big’ status by virtue of its date. Like Christmas day itself, for all its build up and anticipation it was always likely to be a bit flat simply by being too normal. The effective cancelling of Christmas should allow us to focus on success in April, not December.