Friday, July 29, 2011

Pre-season excitement sadly lacking

I've been thinking about all the pre-season build ups in the past. All the simple events and happenings that got my juices flowing in anticipation of a season of thrills at Ewood Park.

On one particular occasion it was the unbelievable giddy, headswimming delight of seeing my team in the top flight with hot new signings like Alan Shearer, Stuart Ripley and Wayne Burnett (he was going to be a star, you know). But that was probably a one off. There's certainly none of that this season.

OK, new summer signings can disappoint. But there were times when you thought, 'hey, this new lad could do a job for us' - Speedie, Sutton, Santa Cruz, even Kevin Davies and George Donis. Or Bellamy and Kalinic. But Jerome Anderson's son hasn't set a pulse racing.

It was even the emotional delight of looking forward to taking the young lads to a game and giving them the same build up of excitement that I used to have - first with my nephews, then with my own first son, then as the rest joined the world, sharing the family occasion with them.

During one close season my nephew won a competition to model the smart new kit with some players. We got to hang out with Dunny, Matt Jansen and Duffer. They co-operated with the sponsors, Time, in parading the new kit. It was innocent fun. Something was stirring. Now the players advertise chicken and look like unwilling sops in a humiliating circus.

There has been anticipation of being truly part of a European adventure. Not this time.

There have been comments from the manager that the group of players could do better than 6th, or a semi-final, and add more silverware. Realistic self-improvement. No, now we get delusions and illusions befitting Comical Ali.

There has been the sense that this is my club, that I will stand by this group of players no matter what. That the club might be skint, parts of the ground condemned and the prospects poor. That the team may not be the best, but they are my club and even though we have gone down, I meant it when I stood in tears singing 'we'll support you evermore'. Maybe I've just grown up a bit.

Sometimes in the past it was even the chance to show off some new gear I'd bought or acquired through shrewd swapping - striding onto the Nuttall Street paddock in my Pringle and Fila. No, I'm way past that too.

Sometimes the previous season may have been tough, but the heartfelt efforts of the club to get the fans onside meant the discounts, the marketing, the little touches that relit the dying flame. Not this season. 

Sometimes it was because I didn't have much else going on, or it was a release from everything else. No, can't claim that now either.

So, for all of the above I have no inclination to renew our season tickets. I have no plans to organise my life, our family life, around the fixture list. There has been nothing to counter a deep rooted cynicism with football in general and Rovers in particular. Nothing at all.

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