Football, our beloved football, attracts hyperbole and over dramatisation like almost nothing else. Hysteria masquerading as passion, commentator bias hidden as informed comment, and goal descriptions that could have been written by Shakespeare himself.
But the season just finished earned a lot of the flowery words and over the top comment. It deserved much of the dramatic commentary and constant replays. It was the year that football stepped up.
It was a season almost entirely without fans in grounds, taking place in its entirety during a worldwide pandemic. It is probably a very valid argument to say that there was a dilution of quality during the season that seemed to last forever, Possibly less memorable games than usual, although fans of Tottenham after thumping Manchester Utd 6-1 at Old Trafford, and of Liverpool as they won 7-0 at Crystal Palace, may well disagree.
Maybe an absence of really nail biting moments although a very late Leicester good turn from VAR made for a dramatic Cup Final. The other big domestic trophies were pretty much non-events, or at least they became so after Manchester City decided it was time to start winning nearly every game.
In the lower leagues, Norwich won the Championship at a canter, Hull picked up League One and Cheltenham won League Two. In Scotland Rangers went unbeaten in the League, a rare event, as they rained on the Celtic ten in a row parade.
So nothing overly dramatic there, in fact a fair degree of the opposite. Why therefore do I talk so positively about the season just finished, earlier on in this piece? Why do I say it’s the year football stepped up?
Maybe Kelly Cates summed it up pretty well in her tweet
“It’s not a group of people that gets a lot of sympathy, but at the end of this weird season in soulless empty grounds, I am very grateful for the players and everyone around them for keeping football going in almost impossible circumstances.”
Kelly finished that tweet with a red heart. How could you argue with that?
Although my own club delivered a turgid season, causing almost weekly upset, they, like everybody else, rocked up, sometimes three times a week to entertain the fans at home. Fans who most probably were in lockdown to some degree or another. Fans who, it is highly likely, had no work to go to, fans who may well have lost loved ones, or even been ill themselves.
Fans, who in some cases relied almost totally upon football to see them through one of the most miserable fifteen months that they could remember.
So that’s why I think this season of all seasons, the hyperbole was deserved. Not just the players by the way, the administrators, the medics, the coaching staff, the Media, and yes, even the Commentators! Everybody played their part in making a very challenging time, just that little bit easier.
It is very much appreciated, and thank you for a Season Like No Other.