True story: back in 1964, my dad and his mates were playing with an ouija board. Having connected with the all-seeing otherworld, they asked a question of global import: the score of the forthcoming league game against Barrow.
‘6-0’ replied God, or whoever, ‘tell nobody’ He continued. The prediction was immediately dismissed as hokum. The following Saturday Oxford were teaching Barrow a lesson down in scoring town. When the sixth goal went in, dad turned to a friend who hadn’t been at the séance and told him of the prediction. At which point Oxford scored their seventh. Spooky.
On Saturday I was sitting in the bath contemplating the likely result of the day’s game whilst playing with my own… um…
I couldn’t see us losing; however, call it law of averages or over-familiarity, I couldn’t see us taking two victories against the same opponents, two weeks in a row. Only then did it dawned on me: it’s going to be a draw.
Spooky. Although less so. The draw against Barrow was the worst result possible, which was compounded by Stevenage closing the gap to two points in the league creating the very real prospect of not being top by tomorrow night. With Green’s injury, Foster suspended and wee Stevie Kinniburgh collecting a knack, we can’t quite get the first eleven all on the field together. This is a period is not of sight or of sound but of mind; the next stop is the wobbly zone.
We’re not doing anything wrong, Stevenage doing things more right but it’s a funny period of the season. There’s a whiff of loss in the air – driven by the cups and the inevitability of being knocked out sooner rather than later. We’re also in that phase where we suddenly look over our shoulder to find our nearest rivals sitting right behind us.
Look at how true winners deal with this; Sir Steve Redgrave or Victoria Pendleton, they know that an inch is enough of a winning margin. We only need to be a point ahead of the pack in April, so we have to look forward not back.
We’ve been grinding out results for weeks now, which could carry on into the New Year, when, hopefully, the cup competitions are behind us. It’s all about points now, we shouldn’t give a shit about the performance.