YOU ARE NEVER AS GOOD AS YOU THINK YOU ARE WHEN YOU WIN,AND YOU ARE NEVER AS BAD AS YOU FEEL WHEN YOU LOSE-JOE PATERNO

As the football season draws to a close and the winners and losers are laid bare,the pretenders and the genuine contenders emerge,hope turns into despair,excitement into angst,expectations into euphoria and the unemployment line stacks on a few extra numbers.Inevitably and predictably damnations are cast on teams which failed to meet expectations,vitriol is smeared on managers who soured our weekends and deprived us of midweek European football nights much too early.Players deemed to have underperformed inspire derision,dismissive opinions and draw more stigma than a leprosy stricken man in the middle ages.Some players receive more hate mail than an incarcerated paedophile,they are threatened with physical harm and hounded on social networks.Tom Cleverly,Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor are a few examples of those forced to close their social network sites to evade the baying public’s animosity towards them.They did not steal christmas,they did not steal the moon nor did they send monsters into children’s dreams,they might have misplaced a pass,over hit a cross or mis timed a tackle or played below expectations but in age confronted by a myriad challenges,in an age without enough heroes,in age with too many villains its mind boggling to realise we reserve societies staunchest criticism for those whose passions,talent and hard work has lead them to be our representatives on the field of play.As sports fans we vicariously live through the efforts and achievements of our chosen heroes.Sports has so many similarities to life but sports is not life and life is not a sport,the torrent of abuse managers,players and match officials are subjected to dilutes the joys the games bring to millions around the world and overlooks the dignity and hard work these men have put into this lifelong pursuit.We live in a cynical world,managers like Arsene Wenger after building a football club complete with a brand new modern stadium and having produced countless world class players not to mention a few titles along the way are spoken of with contempt,derision and tagged a “nearly man” after every stumble in the ferociously intense pursuit for silverware.Wenger’s more creative critics suggest he is only interested in turning out financial profits,this illogical argument is baseless and bankrupt of reason,seventeen years of six am starts and all along Wenger is musing to himself “i dont really want to win just show me the money” never mind that you make more money the more titles you win,never mind that winning players derive higher values on the market,never mind that the Arab and Oilgarch backed clubs do not have a salary budget to adhere to and would jump at the chance to have Wenger managing their clubs.People will clutch at the most fanciful reasons for players’ and managers “underperformance” and yet overlook the obvious.One aspect were life is similar to sports is,often the best laid out plans,the best intentions and herculean dedication can count for nought.No field is exempt from criticism but when that criticism morphs into abuse,personal attacks,character assasinations then the lives of men have become a sport to entertain and distract us from the drudgery of reality.

SOME PEOPLE TRY TO FIND THINGS IN THIS GAME THAT DO NOT EXIST BUT FOOTBALL IS ONLY TWO THINGS-BLOCKING AND TACKLING: VINCE LOMBARDI

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