The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Without any irritable reaching after fact and reason

12 February 2019

When looking to Twitter for updates on Town there are few posts more welcome than those from @onthisGTFCday, with some truly glorious clips of games from days gone by. These can range from recent conquests and fun days out in non-League to clips of Buckleyball at its finest, reminding you if you were lucky enough to see it first time round just how lucky we were.

Yesterday, alongside the regular nostalgia, East End Diary was reminded that two years ago I was drinking heavily to get over watching us get torn to shreds by a very average Crewe side. After that game Marcus Bignot faced up to the crowd to promise we wouldn’t be that poor again (he was wrong). Then just one year ago, after seeing us get thoroughly put in our place by a very average Crawley side, Russell Slade was finally shown the door. This generated much jubilation but very little hope that anyone could turn the collection of players he had assembled into a team.

There are several markers you can use to judge progression or regression as a club. However, sometimes a stark contrast over time can really focus the mind. We also found out yesterday that Michael Jolley, continuing his quest to become the manager who 'gets it' the most, will be auctioning his manager of the month award to raise funds for the Fishermen's Mission.

These contrasts don’t seem years apart as much as belonging in different universes altogether, particularly as Jolley's gesture came two days after a couple of hundred Mariners got to watch us toy with Yeovil as we forced them into an own goal preceded by the kind of passing and moving that Buckley got us to think were pretty commonplace.

Alongside the buzz of a new home that actually looks and feels like a part of a community, rather than a soulless exhibit of what football in the mid-2000s looked like, it really is remarkable how far we seem to have come in such a short space of time.

My natural inclination to be miserable also made me look at Town at the moment and contrast that with the team I grew up watching. The fact that 11 February also saw a 5-0 demolition of Luton in 1995 helped to remind me that, while things are moving in the right direction in the short term, we are still well below where we have spent much of our history.

I am hopeful that we are correcting that long-term trend and are a club on the up once more. But the perspective is useful and, I am sure, is not lost on Jolley. We are building, but this will take time and we are not yet where we really want to be.

It is entirely possible to be both happy at how we are doing and disappointed not to be higher up. Just because we are not as high as we have been, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy watching us play. And just because we are playing some great stuff at times and the future is looking rosy, doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed that we are so far down the pyramid compared to where we used to be.

To keep pushing this club forward we need to demand the club continues to build on its recent good work and not be satisfied with being a mid-table fourth-tier side. But if you can’t sit back and enjoy the performances we are starting to see on the pitch now, then what are you even watching Town for?