Saturday, 4 May 2013

Another False Dawn at Punt Road?

 Like most people, I hate being wrong. Like most people, I am loathe to admit it. It can be especially galling when those who are right and prove your ignorance are the fools and knaves who inhabit Internet forums and ply their opinions and spread their annoying personalities over whatever unfortunate website they choose to participate on.

 I barrack for the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League. It is a long and winding road following the Tigers. Masochists, all of us. A once great and feared football club ground into the dust by decades of failure, the legions of fans who follow them doomed to an abysmal life of insult and abuse hurled like stones from a slingshot by those who support more successful teams. The laughing stock of the competition. We hoped 2013 was the year that the Tiger roared again. Alas, it appears not to be.

 Richmond started the year with three very good wins in a row and the growl of the fans could be heard all the way from Melbourne. Richmond have one of the largest supporter bases in the League, the lack of Premiership glory seemingly no barrier to new waves of adherents who appear ready to burn their souls in the fiery pits of football hell.

 Richmond have been building financially off the field and tangibly on the field for a few years now. Good business managers, competent football staff and a good coach have arranged a promising young team of whom success is eventually expected. The club has been in the doldrums for many years with their last Premiership being delivered in the foggy days of 1980 before the advent of a national competition. All those interstate supporters of of interloping teams who have basked in the glow of Grand Final success over the last 25 years have never seen a Tiger team on the fly or the passion a winning Richmond team can muster in Melbourne. And they seem not likely to see it this year either!

 Richmond had not won the first three games of the year since the 1990's and fans wondered, could it be a return to the heady days of glory which Richmond supporters of the 1960's expected and took for granted and believed was their right? It appeared the team was heading in the right direction but soon the naysayers came out of the woodwork putting the mozz on our spectacular start.

 A website called The Roar which reports on sport of all persuasions and has a very intensive interaction with readers through feedback columns and articles which can be written by fans began to print some very encouraging articles concerning the Tigers, suggesting the long hibernation may be over and the slumbering giant of Melbourne football may be stirring. This brought out the pessimists, the ugly and the just plain nasty, all lining up to take a pot shot at Richmond's credentials and to pour scorn and point humiliation at those of us who still believe in miracles.

 The upshot was, as these malicious football followers pointed out, sometimes in aggressive and condescending tones, that Richmond had not played a team of note in it's first three games and it's next three were against genuine contenders and they would most likely find themselves at three wins and three losses after Round six. Much to my consternation, these doomsdayers have been proven right!

 Now I believe that the Internet for all of it's wonder is far too easy to use. All sorts of Trolls can make life difficult on forums such as The Roar and leave naive supporters of weak kneed football clubs quivering with resignation when their unfortunate prophecies begin to present themselves as the truth and unfold in glorious colour on our television screens much to the chagrin of Richmond supporters like me. Rotten sods.

 I don't for one minute believe many of these narcissists have much idea about the game,their madness and hatred of Richmond consuming them, their demented comments driven by the fear that the Tiger of Richmond will return to his rightful place on top of the ladder. Unfortunately, knowledgeable or not, their claims have been verified where it matters the most. On the field.

 Richmond, despite a gallant effort went down again tonight, their third loss in a row and the season is lurching precariously towards crisis mode. It appears the Tigers just aren't good enough to mix it with the big teams. Another false dawn has risen at Punt Road Oval.

 Never fear. Like all good supporters my good humour will soon return, the trials of the last weeks banished to the far corners of my mind and I will once again live in eternal hope that the team can turn around their fortunes and make the finals for the first time in several years. And then, The Roar will once again be alive with Richmond supporters, living in hope that their team has turned the corner and the much cherished "Light on the Hill", a Richmond Premiership, will be within our grasp.

 As they say in football, "There is always next week".

 Have a nice night.

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