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See How Things Turn Out If You Apply Some Pressure

Another week, another emotional rollercoaster. As David Unsworth put it, a slight step forward and a major one back. Story of our life, mate.

Last Saturday wasn’t the greatest game any of us have ever watched, but it was certainly an improved performance. Another 1-0 HT lead (and I’m so pleased for Threlkeld – he had a torrid time at Bradford and spoke about his depression during his time there, and he’s been unlucky with injury so far during his time with us, so it was great to see him put in such a good performance and score), and Chaddy put the ball through the tyre as an added bonus. For once, we didn’t completely freeze in the second half, Carty looks a very good addition up front, and Fondop’s goal after a cracking counter-attacking move was no more than we deserved. It’s lovely to see Big Mike so happy, isn’t it? I’ll even let him off for that celebration. Finally, we’re turning a corner!.....

….at high speed, and slamming into an oncoming bus.

I couldn’t make it to Altrincham, thank fuck. The verdict on social media appeared to be ‘worst performance ever’, and Unsworth seemed inclined to agree. He didn’t pull any punches in his post-match interview, saying “I can’t defend the indefensible”, and singled out Harry Vaughan (“he needs to learn to play defensively”) and David Okagbue (“David at the back doesn’t take responsibility”) for criticism in relation to Altrincham’s goal. I’m not sure how helpful that is, and whether he's likely to get the response he's looking for by naming and shaming, but he’s clearly as exasperated as we are.

Having said after the game that any players who couldn’t handle the pressure of fans getting on their back “need to come and tell me and leave”, he appealed to supporters ahead of today’s game in his pre-match press conference, saying “I know the supporters pay their money but they must know and see that this is not going to change overnight, and in a way some of these players can’t play under that pressure”. That isn’t backtracking, that isn’t making excuses, it’s being honest. However much we’re right to be unhappy with how badly we’re playing, saying “well they should be able to play under pressure” doesn’t make it so. This is the squad we’ve got, we are where we are. Unsworth has said he’s trying to bring players in, and true to his word, yesterday we announced forward Timmy Abraham signing on loan from Walsall. Big fan of his parents calling their sons Timmy and Tammy. We’re bringing players in, hopefully Unsworth is taking us in the right direction, but it’s going to take time.

What a struggling team really, really needs, 4 days after a catastrophically bad performance and a public bollocking from the manager, is a local Roses game (NOT a derby), on national TV, in front of over 2000 travelling fans, a good chunk of whom will have been drinking for 6+ hours before KO. Time for Psychology Baz to REALLY earn his money. We’ll be pub crawling it on the bus. Might stay in Hebden Bridge to be honest. Hebden Bridge is brilliant. Full of hippies, lesbians, witches, dead nice pubs and cute little shops selling things like knitted owl mug cosies (I have one, my lovely friend Anna got me it). I bet they’ll have some cracking Halloween parties there on Saturday. Fuck it, who wants my match ticket?

Only joking. It’ll be a cracking day out, hopefully not ruined too much by the football. Enjoy yourself and stay safe if you’re going, and please don’t disgrace yourself on the train, Lancastrian pride is at stake. And if all else fails, maybe take the piss out of the locals about the cricket. Fingers crossed it'll be another slight step forward.


Written by Arlene Finnigan. Image © Oldham Athletic.


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