Yellows 0 Hereford 2

There are 7 billion godforsaken motherfuckers on this earth (you’re not a motherfucker, obviously, but everyone else is). They occupy a space that, had we not mastered farming, can sustain about 1 million of us foraging for berries and being eaten by lions.

We are naturally greedy. For all our rhetoric about ecology and sustainability we strive to master and dominate nature. We want to live. In fact, we consider life to be sacrosanct, even if it means that most of our lives do little more than destroy everything else.

We call our ability to sustain life ‘progress’ and ‘development’. Our greediness forces us to continually strive for more than we have or can achieve. It is known as the conspiracy of optimism. It is in us all.

After our Play-Off win last season, talk was of how we’d march straight to League 1. League 2 was mere bagatelle for the third best team in the Conference.

Prior to our defeat at Hereford, sitting outside the play-offs, talk was of automatic promotion. The play-offs, a previously stated stretch target, weren’t even mentioned. Rather than focussing on the play-off objective we were off into the fantasy of being world-beaters who would cruise to promotion automatically. The conspiracy to stretch beyond what was reasonable and achievable gripped hard.

And we got a mugging. We dominated and controlled the game, but we got caught out. The way we play leaves us susceptible to conceding goals. This puts huge pressure on our ability to respond. From time to time we simply won’t break back. On Saturday we had two clear-cut chances – for defender Harry Worley and newly introduced sub Simon Hackney – had they fallen to Constable or Craddock, things might have been different. But they can’t always guarantee they will and they didn’t.

Ours is definitely not an automatic promotion way of playing. We are one of four or five who might sneak a place in the play-offs. And yet, ability to over expect and under achieve could scupper us from achieving that.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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