I don't know if optimism has been added to our drinking water (to balance out the fluoride and the lead rust from our Victorian pipes) but most supporters have an unhealthy, un-Poppies-like confidence in the coming season. Unhealthy, because as we all know, it never pays to shout the odds as a Poppies fans. The few times we have felt a swell of pre-season pride it has usually preceded a heavy fall. How many "We'll walk this league" Augusts been followed by teeth-grinding defeats through September?
Sure, given the enormous squad assembled, with presumably a thick wedge of them soon to be loaned out, we should be very much to the fore come the end of the season. But I can't help feeling a tremor of nervousness when fellow Poppies supporters, who presumably have watched us play before, seem to think we'll win the league at a canter. Some talk of remaining undefeated through the season! I'd be happy to remain undefeated through this afternoon!
We seem to have conveniently forgotten that there are a few teams in this division who play a bit. Even though we beat Daventry each of the 32 times we played them last season, they were a strong unit who played good football, and bossed us at Latimer Park in the league and in the play-off semi final. Rugby Town were a good team who, although we played them off the park at their place, beat everyone else comfortably, and took 4 points off us last season. Bedford Town are likely to be a threat. It only needs two teams to have slightly better seasons than us, and we're down here for another year.
Every team in this division will raise their game against us big-time Charlies. Ten behind the ball. Parking the bus. Victorian football. And what if we can't break teams down and hand them all the thrashings they richly deserve? That's when the biggest threat to our team emerges - us. Our nervousness, impatience and anger when not putting every lowly bunch of villagers to the sword won't take long to transfer to the players. Suddenly Moreman vanishes out on the wing. Henry starts carving more clearances over our goalie. Dubi sulks. Andy Hall falls into a small hole and is never seen again. Brett realises his mistake in joining us.....
....I'm making myself nervous already!
How about this? We take each game as it comes. Give 110%. Treat the opposition with respect. 11 men against 11 men. Stay focused for 90 minutes. Get behind the players. Hopefully we'll end up "Over the Moon".
Now, let's go out there and piss this poxy league!