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Seasonal reflections


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I am dying.

For those of you that may have felt a nano-second of remorse or for the majority of you whose first thought will have been ‘I wonder how to get hold of his season ticket for next year’, let me explain that, so far as I know, I am dying in the same sense that we all are: day by day, minute by minute, season by season, I am nearer the end of my life.

But now, thanks to Tuesday’s BBC website, I can accurately determine when that moment will be.  I have, according to the article helpfully entitled ‘How long do you have to live’, another 22 years on this planet, of which 78%, or just over 17 years, will be ‘healthy’.

By season 2035 therefore, roughly, that will be me done as a season ticket holder. What I can see for the 5 years after will depend upon TV rights and dementia. And if you think that’s a long way off then you’re not as old as I am.  To me, after 50+ years a fan, it feels like tomorrow. And one day, those of you just sitting down to your GCSEs, you too will be where I am now. So think on.

It’s all to do with statistics of course. And averages. And the thing about averages is that some people beat them, otherwise they wouldn’t be averages.  So I might have longer.  But it might also be shorter too because some people also have to lose, to make averages.

‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’.  Love them or loath them statistics are important.  They alter the cost of our car and house insurance, the value of our benefits, decisions on interest rates, the health services we get, the potholes filled, the value of adverts on websites such as this to advertisers, where supermarkets are built and care homes too.  They are, in short, important to all of us, every day of our lives

We followers of DCFCfans, have been challenged by some of our colleagues over the last couple of months to say that we’ve enjoyed season 2017/18.  Well I have, and the statistics tell me why.

In August 2017 I anticipated 8 - 12th in the League with periodic flirtation with relegation and nowhere near the play offs; I couldn’t imagine any of our players winning the inaugural ‘Golden boot’ for the Championship; I didn’t think that we would score 70 goals (the 4th best in the division) and concede only 48; that we would win 12 games at home or 8 games away from home; I didn’t imagine that I would go to 15 away games and see us lose only twice, including the 2nd leg; or that we would only lose 5 times on the road in the season proper (the best in the division along with Wolves and Preston); I believed that we would get our annual thrashing at Middlesborough.  In the last 7 seasons we have been in the play-offs 3 times (including this one).

In short I thought this season would be a real struggle.  I have seen stand out performers in Carson, Davis, Keogh and Vydra, some fantastic goals, individual and team, and some wonderful, committed, skilful defending with, particularly in the last few matches, support and noise to rival anything else since Pride Park opened.  So, a good season.

Ah, some say, ‘what about style over substance? How can you have enjoyed watching that all season?’.  Well I have.

The personal reason is that watching the Rams play live is, and always has been since the mid 60’s, a privilege. The older I get the more of a privilege it becomes because I know increasingly that it won’t last forever.  I also love watching good defenders and good goalkeepers and we have had both this season.

But history is important too because it gives a perspective. Brian’s team won with style over 2 or 3 seasons, Dave’s similarly; Arthur’s team was generally, and of necessity, substance until Deano and co joined; Jim’s team was consistently stylish over 4 or 5 years; Billy’s team, mostly substance for a year. Those were our managers who have won things - say 14 years out of 50 with both style and substance and then some style but only a little bit of substance with George Burley, Roy Mac and Mac 1 and you get about 20 out of 50 seasons.  More than a lot of fans of other teams have had but still only a 40% strike rate.

And yet every single one of those 50+ seasons has had it’s moments, matches and players that have kept me coming back for more, whether the season has, overall, been one of success, fighting against failure or mid-table mediocrity.  And this season has been no different. It’s a bit like a round of golf.  There’s always one shot that makes you want to come back, that misleads you into thinking, ‘Christ, I can actually play this game’.   Winnall’s goal against Ipswich; a couple of Vydra goals; Nugent’s against Norwich; a Tom Lawrence long range shot; some of Keogh’s blocks and his breaks forward; Davis v Mitrovic in the first leg; Carson v Mitrovic and v Assombalonga; some of Huddlestone’s long range passing and his close control when under pressure. The vast majority of the games have had something to bring me back, to excite.

The next few weeks will bring change.  It always does.  If Vyds goes and you’re upset, just think what it felt like to see Toddy go, or Charlie or Kevin.  Fact is players come and depart.  Always have done and always will do.  The pressures on managers vary, but they can only sell players that other teams want and buy players that want to come here.  It’s a game of trading. So trade on Gary, do your best and roll on August 4th (or 3rd/5th/6th).

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What I said yesterday..... but OP putting it so much better.....

Someone who remembers first and foremost, to enjoy being a fan..... take note.

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