“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour,But heaven knows i’m miserable now”
Where did it all go wrong? It’s easy to look back on the past with the warm glow of nostalgia and wonder. 12 Months ago we were at Lincoln basking in the warm spring sunshine as Cables secured their place in the Unibond Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Lincoln United.The euphoria of that win carried us over the pre season in readiness for the new campaign. Flags had been printed in expectation of a Cables rampage across the non league grounds of Northern England. Intoxicated by our narrow escape we’d forgotten to read the tea leaves left in the bottom of our empty cup after the Lincoln game.
Consider this. Cables hadn’t won a match between November and late February last season, and of their last eight league games they had lost six. Only winning their last two league matches saved Cables from relegation.Even at already relegated Lincoln Cables had to stage a late fight back coming from 2-1 down to win 3-2. In hindsight Tommy Taylor’s late ,dramatic headed winner only postponed the inevitable for 12 months. Taylor, Cables two goal hero that day, somehow managed not to score a goal during the entire 2008/09 season. You can’t really plan for things like that.
So what I’m saying is Cables eventual fate wasn’t entirely a surprise. What has been a surprise is the lack of league wins on a Saturday. A perfect scenario for another Smiths song “Cables in a coma” , ” winless teams of the world unite” etc etc, you get the picture.
This state of affairs has been met with different views on the extremes but for the most part a sort of stoic silence has fallen over the faithful. Some fans are willing to give the Cables team a knighthood if they win a corner, others want them all hung from the main stand at the final whistle. The vast majority just shuffle home bemused only to return slack-jawed to the next home game. Cables crowd is, to be honest, not quite the most vocal in the Unibond League. There isn’t a gathering place for the partizans , no choir or easily identifiable home support area. The majority of Cables fans tend to stage a mass silent loiter behind the dug outs. The silence is occasionally broken by a lone heckler targeting the referee. This means it is ,for the most part, hard to judge the mood of the faithful, assuming they actually have moods as well as a pulse Yes,I’m having a go. Teams, even teams at this level need support, encouragement, an arm around their shoulder. To be fair things have picked up slightly with the introduction of several flags, a drummer, bugler and the club fanzine- but more volume home and away wouldn’t go amiss.
I have to admit I’m one of the nay sayers who spotted the huge luminous writing on the wall early in the season. Something wasn’t clicking and if Cables played well, which they did fairly often, the performance would be rewarded with a point rather than a win. In a season when we’d need at least another 46 points to survive the early omens were not good. If this wasn’t bad enough the teams who entered the league looked to be in far better nick than the teams who left via the relegation door. Bradford PA, Nantwich and FC United all had the fan base and finance to ensure at least safety, pushing Cables further down the Premier League pecking order.
Despite these obvious difficulties Cables made a pretty decent fist of it up until November. Staying around the bottom four with every chance of climbing the table with a couple of wins. Fittingly, hope arrived on Boxing Day as Cables thrashed Marine 6-3. The Crosby side’s biggest home caning in over 20 years- let’s just say I finished off the Christmas Sherry that night. Sadly that was to be as good as it got as the wheels came off, the driver had a heart attack and we suffered several drive- by shootings.
Losing, in itself, isn’t always a bad thing. You can learn from loss and rebuild, you can test your character, find your limits and come back stronger. On the other hand losing continually must be like carrying a rucksack of barbells around the pitch for the players. Confidence suffered and inexplicable individual mistakes crept into performances from players who had been rock solid all season. In the end relegation itself wasn’t as painful as the manner of relegation, bottom of the league without a win since January. In the closing weeks teams were coming to Cables looking to boost their goal difference let alone take the three points.
It’s been tough to take. But even among the carnage there have been highlights. Young Rob McIntosh has been a monumental find by Cables. When I first saw Jamie McCulloch at Matlock away I thought he looked way out of his depth but he’s matured into a captain in every way, fearless in the tackle and with abundant energy. Darren Byers’ goal tally speaks for itself and Lee Smith has been as solid as ever. A final mention to Karl Bell who found himself out of the team but never complained, still travelled to be on the bench, then fought his way back into the team.He walks like Forrest Gump before and after the match due to aches and knocks, but gives it everything for the shirt out on the pitch.
Change, change, change…change we need as Obama said. That’s been a bit of a debating point on the Tigerish forum. Before you have change you have to understand what you are changing towards. You have to understand your expectations and if your current position exceeds those expectations. While the season has been a bit of a disaster on the pitch, to pretend otherwise would just be insulting people’s intelligence, the season off the pitch has been a real success. And in Cables position if you don’t get the off field activities right you don’t have a team on the pitch. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a vocal critic of crap performances, always have been and always will be. Defeats I can live with, poor performances are a bit more difficult to digest. So I’m not going to say people can’t demand change, can’t demand freshness etc- the fans pay their money and have a right to voice an opinion , but just understand where Cables are and where they have come from. And is life in the Unibond North really going to be so bad? I’m certainly looking forward to next season more than I looked forward to this season. We are in this to keep the club alive- and have some fun while we do it:
or as The Smiths remind us “There is a light that never goes out”
All I’m saying is just think about it…
The Cables Walloper