GOING GETS TOUGH
KEVIN HALLS says fans need to be fully prepared for a long, hard season…
Supporters need to be ready, too!
THE new season has started and, as all followers of the beautiful game know only too well, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
In other words, it’s not a casual stroll in the park, but more of a test of strength and endurance. That’s not just for the players, but also for us fans who go to games week in, week out.
Football can be brutal at times and it’s not a sport for the timorous fan, or one of a nervous disposition.
They can wobble and buckle when their side hits a rough patch, as they lack the grit needed to get through the dark times.
They lack the toughness of the more experienced supporter who has seen it all before and who, like a boxer who’s down on the canvas, finds the mettle to get back to his feet and carry on.
A football season can also be likened to a rollercoaster ride with all its twists and turns, or a rugged obstacle course with many hurdles to get over before the race is completed.
As fans, we need to be prepared just like a footballer is to take some knocks along the way.
When a player returns from his summer break these days, he arrives in good shape as he knows he’s in for some really tough training sessions.
He’ll be running up hills, doing lots of situps, press-ups, stomach crunches and hours of weight training in the gym.
So it makes sense to keep in trim or that player will no doubt really struggle.
But us supporters also need to arrive for a new season in decent nick, too.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean we have run up steep hills or sweated buckets pumping iron, of course not.
Yet we do need to turn up for the opening games with at least a positive mental attitude.
Many fans, though, arrive with a negative mindset, they’re apathetic and lack oomph.
It’s reflected in what they say,‘Here we go again,’ or ‘We’re going to get beat, so what’s the point ?’.
In fact, as a Coventry City supporter we should have all those words emblazoned across the club’s shirt – we’ve been through so much bad stuff we’re expecting doom and gloom even before a ball has been kicked!
But that’s negative thinking so we do need to get rid of it and replace it with positivity, even though that is easier said than done. A new season can be seen as a fresh slate and a new beginning.Yet supporters who have been watching their team for decades, like myself, could be compared to endurance athletes. We keep on going and battle on through the pain and agony, we take it on the chin and when the good times do occasionally turn up, we embrace and enjoy them. ‘When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going’. That was the hit record by Billy Ocean, a nice catchy song. But it could have been aimed at football fans everywhere as to get to the end of a long, gruelling season you will need to possess fortitude, backbone, strength – because there will be times when your side may be wobbling and the players will need your support to get them through it. So to supporters of clubs all across the land, I hope you’re all in tip-top condition and ready for the contest ahead? Because if you’re not, you may be flagging halfway through, you’ll be knackered and worn out. And, heaven forbid, even ready to throw in the towel. In that case it won’t be Billy Ocean you’ll be singing along to, you’ll be shouting out loudly the Beatles classic: HELP!