Old Heads, Young Hearts

Whatever happens on the pitch, experienced eyes have seen it all before.

The wins, the trophies arriving with such monotony, you could even tire of it. Possibly.

But sometimes it’s what happens off the pitch that can make those eyes widen in wonder and pride.

Consider: supposing this run continues.

Just supposing the concerns and frustrations of the past few weeks turns from a bad dream into a sour nightmare.

Supposing that it wasn’t just a Ray of hope that was extinguished back then? Supposing the deterioration is terminal? What then?

The real fans will be seen more and more as time goes on, that’s what.

Older heads will appear above the parapet to take the flak and we will have to laugh off all the jibes as Salomon or Flo put another chance wide (hell, for us Aged Ones it’ll almost be fun in a warped, warmly nostalgic sort of way).

We’ll joke amongst ourselves about the johnny-come-latelys being unable to cope with the real world of football – as they throw their half-eaten prawn sandwiches on the floor and stomp out of the Bridge at more points dropped when we concede a goal to make it 1-1 …. in the 65th minute.

And we will all laugh at Mr and Mrs Subaru who have to console little Crispin because we only won 2-0 and he had heard so many tales of 6-0 wins and if he cant have 6-0 he don’t want nothing, and he’s not ever coming again, ever, so there!

And maybe then we’ll smile amongst ourselves at these odd folk, and someone will mention Winston Bogarde. Chris Sutton too; we may well shake our heads sympathetically.

We’ll all nod and smile knowingly when someone mentions Johnny Sitton, or Graham Wilkins, Teddy Maybank or Peter Feeley. Then we’ll all be bonded, to greater and lesser extents, bonded together, and bonded with our history and our shared heritage.

And when the nouveau-dumb leave Stamford Bridge because we aren’t walking away with the League, it’ll be our turn to laugh at them. Because they’ll be too stupid to realise that this is real football they are watching and not some feelgood Hollywood blockbuster where the hero always triumphs in the end.

And in amongst all this taking of other people’s jibes, and in amongst all this laughing at the Johnny-come-lately-and-leave-earlys, something beautiful will shine.

And that’ll be when some ten year old kid (like I was when I first became aware of Chelsea) says “we lost again, we are out of the title race, but I love Chelsea. That was great, can I come again?”

And that, in amongst all the doom and gloom, makes it all worthwhile. The true fans will always be there, young and not so young.

And that’s something that eyes that have seen it all before will never tire of seeing again.

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