At a recent game in Millwall, we were delighted when the referee came along and gave us two penalties.
‘This is from the Football League – he wants to welcome you to the Den and hopes you have a good game today’ he explained.
You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a surprise, at least not for us.
Throughout our Championship life, we’ve regularly had penalties given to us by men we barely know. Once a well-dressed chap standing behind us in the league table gave us a penalty when not even in the box and another occasion a charming gentlemen handed us three points not long after we stepped off the coach in Hull.
Another time as we walked through the defence at Vicarage Road, we were tapped on the ankles and presented with a lovely opportunity to settle the game from 12 yards.
Whenever we have asked what it is we have done to deserve such treatment, the donors of these gifts have always said the same thing: Our pleasing appearance and pretty play made their day.
While we’re no Barcelona, we’re fluid, attacking and clinical and so are often told we’re a good looking team. We know how lucky we are. But there are downsides to playing this pretty – the main one being that fans of other clubs hate us for no other reason than our pretty superiority.
If you are an opposition fan reading this, I’d hazard that you have already formed your own opinion about us – and it won’t be flattering.
We’re not smug, yet over the years countless opponents have felt threatened when we got near their halves.
You would think us fans would applaud each other for taking pride in our performance?
We work at ours – We train, EVEN when we don’t feel like it and very rarely succumb to hoofing it. Unfortunately fans find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most attractive team in the league.
So now we have played 41 games and are perhaps one of the few teams potentially entering the Premier League welcoming the decline of our success. I can’t wait for the defeats and the mediocrity to help us blend into the background.
Perhaps then the brotherhood will stop judging us harshly on what we play like, and instead accept us for who we are.