There’s a lot in the news about the Englishness of football. My take on that is that traditional English qualities work brilliantly in cosmopolitan Premiership sides because they offer the drive that characterises the English game. Johnny Foreigner offers complimentary technical skills which makes the whole thing work. However, put all that Englishness together in one team and you get one marauding mob.

This stage of the season is, in the psyche of traditionalists like me, where the season is at its best. Dark, dank, cold, wet, muddy and miserable. Warming cups of tea or soup and pints of ale that are as thick as clay. I wear as many cloth caps as I do drink ale, but the point is that football is not the point, the experience is.

The reality is different, of course, and these traditionalist features are slipping through our fingers like sand. Its being replaced by branded pies, goaltime music and text messaging your man of the match.

Its also one of the worst stages in the season. Yesterday’s 2-0 win over Kidderminster put us just 8 points behind the play-off places. Your heart says the season is still alive, your head looks at the statistics and thinks that maybe it is. But deep down you know that goalscorers Barnes and Green are not going to be around all season, they’ve got more important things to worry about then spluttering Conference promotion campaigns. Deep down you know that another flaccid performance is just around the corner. But then, maybe with a signing or two in January it will all click into place and 2008 will be a breathless charge to glory.

I guess it’s that eternal flame that burns over the season that makes us leave the house on a dark, wet, dank Saturday afternoon.

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