Football is far more enjoyable when you don’t worry about it. After all, to worry is to think about things that are beyond our control. So why bother investing so much emotion into a sport that we have no control over and will ultimately stab us in the back?
When Manchester City were on the cusp of winning the Premier League title towards the end of the 2011/12 season my dad always said to me “If they’re good enough they’ll do it”. It makes perfect sense. Regardless of all the things that may go against your team during the course of the season, ultimately, the best team wins the league and when the best team wins it is hard to grumble. But at that time my dad’s ideology wasn’t good enough for me. City simply had to win the league by any means necessary, whether it was fair or not. Anything else would have been unthinkable as far as I was concerned. In the end, City were good enough (just about) and did it in the most dramatic circumstances possible.
In big moments that have followed that historic day, my dad repeated those wise old words “If they’re good enough they’ll do it”. Of course, the 2012/13 season was a relative disaster. When City really should have stamped their authority on English football they took a big step backwards and weren’t good enough on a number of occasions. That last minute defeat to Man United at the Etihad, the FA Cup Final defeat and those seemingly endless away draws. Every waking moment spent lamenting City’s shortcomings thinking what if, if only, why? Even my dreams were occasionally occupied with abstract hallucinations about City’s flaws. As frustrating as these moments are, time heals your wounds and you get on with life thinking what was all the fuss about.
Even in this season where City have played some of the best football of my life when anything bad has happened I have fallen into the same trap as before. The rage, the humiliation and then the eureka moment when you realise that you’re being ridiculous and get over it.
Before the Liverpool game a few weeks ago my dad told me again that “if City are good enough they’ll do it”. Of course, City weren’t good enough and they didn’t do it. It was a bitter pill to swallow though: City had every right to feel hard done by. A clumsy mistake, a cheating racist and an incompetent referee were arguably the difference between a win and a loss. However, I felt I turned a corner that weekend.
The day after the game I wasn’t preoccupied with anger whilst many others were incandescent with rage. I just accepted that City were not good enough and even if I did let the frustration drag me down what difference would it make? None. Absolutely none whatsoever. There will always be moments when the outcome of a football match may feel unjust but ultimately teams get what they deserve. That is why the best teams tend to win and the worst teams tend to lose. Essentially, if you get what you deserve, which most teams do, there is little room for complaint.
Looking back over the season can any City fan truly say City deserve to be crowned Champions in May? I don’t think so. Bar the odd exception, City have not played like Champions in waiting since January. Even when in blistering form through the winter months City weren’t top of the league for any significant amount of time or by any great margin. You can’t forget those terrible away defeats at the beginning of the season as well which have put City on the back foot all season allowing no room for error during the run in. City’s inability to recover from damaging defeats in big games, such as Liverpool away and Chelsea at home, have also been a factor in determining whether City have the makeup of Champions. In spite of this, City still have a chance of doing it if results go their way and if they do pull it off you won’t hear me complaining. That said, if they don’t do it, which is more than likely, you won’t hear me complaining*.
On the whole it has been a great season with some outstanding football on show for us long suffering supporters to enjoy. We even won a bloody trophy and that doesn’t happen very often. But if it doesn’t pan out like we had hoped, don’t worry about it. Enjoy it for what it is…and what it is a game that we have absolutely no control over.
As my dad says, “If they’re good enough they’ll do it”**.
*You probably will
**My dad does say other words
Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter