Like so many of my blogs, I’ve shamelessly stolen my idea from someone else. In this case the American comedian Larry Miller (you may know him as the shop clerk in the film “Pretty Woman”). He does a fantastic stand-up routine in the late eighties/early nineties called the “Five stages of drinking” which you can see here…
In the last few weeks I’ve often thought of this routine, whereby at level one you’re having a quiet drink with friends and things slowly get out of control until you reach level five when you’re in a twenty four hour bar where people have been released from prison as early as that morning with a tattoo you can’t explain.
So with that downhill slide in mind, and with clear parallels to our current plight, here’s the five stages of losing from a Hull City fans perspective.
City lose a game, the first of the season or after a significantly good run. They lose but are not disgraced. Twitter is awash with posts paying tribute to how far we’ve come, being philosophical about the fact we had to lose in the end and telling everyone to “Keep the faith”, other phrases include “In (insert manager) we trust” and “Relax”. The mood is still very positive. Especially amongst twitter contributors with flags and HCAFC in their user name. Any City fan who dares to pop their ignorant, biased and bitter heads above the parapet to suggest a player wasn’t good, the tactics were wrong or complain in any way are quickly dismissed and subsequently shouted down. Popular retorts include asking the said complainer is secretly Ehab Allam, or has taken some sort of hallucinogenic drugs. The fans just want players who want to be at this wonderful club and anyone that doesn’t can leave anyway, that also includes critical fans who we are better off without. All is well, no need for panic, the HMS Piss the league is full steam ahead.
City lose again, this time at home, to nil and are roundly outplayed. They are missing a couple of players and although there’s some mitigating circumstances a few boos ring out at the end. There’s a similar wave of support for the manager but now you’re seeing the odd qualification in their tweets. “Today was awful but…” “We knew it wasn’t going be simple but…” “There was always going to be ups and downs this year”. The odd player has started to get stick on the pitch from the fans, usually they are defensive or have been signed from lower leagues and they become the focus for our problems, they were signed by a previous manager and are definitely just “simply not good enough” .Conversely missing players are held up akin to Jesus himself and will certainly solve all our problems. This despite the fact fans have only played with these players on FIFA or seen them on Youtube, however they will definitely turn this all around. The same voices of dissent are around and although they are still largely dismissed, the approach to them is getting more passive aggressive and complex, they are now being described as “obsessed” , perhaps some sort of stalker card is played and they may be subject to the aged old rhetorical question approach here. “Oh, you know better than (insert the manager/coach) do you? What are your qualifications?” etc. Anyway, we’ll be fine, on the next one. We dust worselves down. HMS Piss the league is bobbing along fine.
Stage 3 is somewhat of a threshold. Not only do we lose again, and this time we’re not in the game, after less than half an hour when a mid-table team walk three goals in during the opening period. The new players who were previously held up as our saviours play badly, and are taken off. Ironically for players who were previously booed off at stage two, yet still have to come on. Those previously held up saviours are still defended afterwards because they’ll take time to get used to the pace of English football. However the tide is now turning on the current manager. Statements like “I’ve tried to defend (insert current manager here) but I’m starting to seriously doubt (insert current manager here) now”. The flag/HCAFC tweeters are now increasingly sounding like a Talksport phone in, lots of talk about lack of effort, someone’s mate’s uncle’s hairdresser knows there’s problems off the pitch. Polls are starting to appear and people are voting a lot. You can now say exactly what the dissenters said at stage one, but simply preface your input with “I’m not one of those fans who criticises (insert current manager here)” and then you’re totally justified in putting ”but this was shit and he’s shit, and we’re shit”. There’s trouble in paradise. HMS Piss the league is letting on water, but the band is still playing.
At stage four, fans are angry a full hour before we even kick off. Just naming the team has them in total disarray and they are remarkably tetchy. They don’t care if the expensive Jesus like signing was all over the chippy last week, there’s no justification for playing (insert the name of unfashionable player, S.Capegoat here) whatsoever. Players names get ironic boos or slow handclaps before kick off the expensive fancy players get a glowing reception for the incredible warm up they do in front of the main stand. Here at stage four the previous mantra of all the players want to be part of this project has been abandoned and everyone is under suspicion, particularly the signings not made recently, They’re definitely some sort of double agent and don’t care about the club. Despite small signs of improvement, City are beaten again, it’s definitely the fault of (insert current manager) he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and the flag/HCAFC tweeters are forming long telephone lines to tell famous Hull City expert David Burns MBE all about it. There’s more polls than during the run up to a general election and previous posters who were European footballer analysis experts are now world football manager experts. Forget about the club, the fans need to recruit the new gaffer, this one is done, almost definitely. “Alright Burnsey, didn’t go today and haven’t been all season, in fact I’ve never gone at all, but it’s not good enough is it?” The HMS Piss the league has hit an iceberg, the band are getting on a dinghy and it’s every man for himself.
Here at stage five you’d think it would be a living hell. But you’d be a little off the mark, a significant amount of the ultimate optimists seen at stage one have had their accounts suspended and decided that they simply don’t love going to games anymore. You go to a game and see people who have done this many times before in the pub beforehands, the crowd is down by a few thousand but it’s vaguely less critical. Sure we lose again but the man of the match is one S.Capegoat who has his best game for the club in some time. Rumours are rife that (insert current manager) has put his house up for sale and has two suitcases by the front door, waiting for when the taxis arrive. You look at other fans at the game knowingly, they have the same hopeless City addiction as you do and you both know you’ll never stop going. Many of the City fans who like other things to stay sane have gone off on tangents by now, see the eight types of City fan on Twitter (https://www.thelikesofhull.co.uk/450628837) and who can blame them? At least the car park was easy to get out of. The HMS Piss the league is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, the survivors have swam to safety and we’re all ready to start this process all over again.
As ever send your hate tweets to @thelikesofhull . Thanks for reading. UTT.