I consider myself a ‘normal fan’; a season ticket holder who doesn’t tend to go away. I have other commitments – family, friends, work, other interests – things I’d rather do. I’m not a ‘true fan’ in the way often debated on forums because that way madness lies.
For away games, I have a dilemma. I want to follow the game, but I don’t particularly like the radio – it’s too much information directed at once just one sense. Also, modern commentating style; as championed by Alan Green on Radio 5, aims to give opinions and avoid describing the game as much as possible. Jerome Sale et al are as guilty as anyone:
Jerome Sale: “… the ball goes out to the left, they’re queuing up in the middle for this one and… well you could have predicted that happening.”
Me at home: “Constable, Farrell, Murray, GET IN THERE SUNSHINE”
Nathan Cooper: “absolutely, it’s what we talked about in the car on the way up.”
JS “Yeah, just like you did at Altrincham last year”
Me: “Was it a goal?”
NC “Oh no, let’s not bring that up again.”
Me “Is that Oxford fans cheering?”
JS “You’ve lost that loving feeling, eh Nathan?”
Me: “Sod off you two, what’s bloody happening”
Cue: laughing off mic.
Me: searches teletext.
… I paraphrase. There’s always teletext, Soccer Saturday, Live Text on BBC, and the forums. More staccato but less intrusive. Yesterday, I had Soccer Saturday (er, Monday?) on, Live Text didn’t seem to be working and the TiU Forum was going through another ‘not friendly to Mac’s’ phase. The information I was receiving – admittedly none – told me we were holding our own in a particularly dull game.
When the information starvation finally forced me onto Radio Oxford, it sounded like another Hillsborough was underway. When, eventually, it turned out to be a relatively minor crowd-control issue, I eventually bored of the impromptu Conference bashing phone-in Jerome Sale was orchestrating and headed out.
I came back to find that, bizarrely, we had brushed aside Woking with uncharacteristic ease for a ‘must-win’ game. Results elsewhere seem to have gone against us; the four play-off incumbents, Cambridge, Torquay, Kidderminster, Stevenage, feel like a pretty robust quartet and hardly need sparkling four to secure their spots.
But we live in hope and move onto Burton. It would be nice to push this into the last week of the season, deny Burton the championship and finally see ourselves (temporarily) in a play-off spot. But the question is, do I watch it live on Setanta in the pub or watch it live on illegal Chinese streaming?
By the way: as if the world needed more of an information overload, if you look down the left hand bar you can now read Oxford news from Google and watch goals through DeddingtonSteve’s YouTube channel. And, although I’m still not sure I understand it – you can read Oxblogger’s little brother Oxtweeter – including ill considered in-game thoughts – through Twitter. If you follow me, I’ll follow you… whatever that means.