I’ve blogged less since we won the National League than at any time over the last nine months. It isn’t due to a lack of material, obviously there is an awful lot that could be written about.
I could grab interviews with one or two of the players that I’ve spoken to in the past. I could write about the open top bus parade, and the arguments for and against it being held at 5pm on a work day. I could pay tribute to Paul Farman and Sam Habergham as we receive news their seasons are now over as they seek early treatment on their long standing injuries. There is even another match tonight as that punishing Tuesday / Saturday schedule continues for one more week.
I’m not sure what I imagined would actually happen as the furore from the weekend died down. After the life-affirming scenes of Saturday I spent Sunday in the tranquillity of my garden, miles away not only from Lincoln but from pretty much everywhere. I wanted to let the previous day sink in, quietly and with a degree of contemplation that would hopefully produce a few decent paragraphs for you in the evening. I mowed my lawn to the tune of Waterfall is magic, I made a cage for my partners strawberry garden whilst singing Nathan Arnold was a cod, and at night I slept to my own internal rendition of Allez Allez Allez Oo.
Since then predictably (but somehow oddly) life has just gone on. Lincoln winning the league? That’s old news now. At work yesterday in Gainsborough I had to prompt any conversation, and inevitably within seconds it switched to Trinity or Sheffield Weds talk. Today? I’m not at work thanks to my pesky lower lumbar, but I’ve had more talk about City out of the mirror than I did Jewson in Gainsborough.
Today we have all this new stuff pouring in, these new games and these injury developments. Somehow I’d hoped that just for a week or so we’d get nothing else to distract us, nothing else to take away the wonder of the weekend. Maybe in 1988 without the internet it was possible to continue the celebrations into Tuesday, but in 2017 it was hard enough to drag them into Sunday. I shunned the reports of the bus parade yesterday in order to watch hours of footage from other people on Facebook, trying to spot myself in their pictures and videos. I still don’t want that day to end.
The moment we clinched the title is a haze. I know I went on the pitch, but I can’t remember the direction I walked in. I can’t remember who I hugged, and I want to piece all of that together. I don’t want to think about players who enjoyed that moment with us not being at the club next year, I don’t want to speculate on new signings. Who plays here next season is for the story of next season, and as far as I’m concerned we’re still enjoying the climax to this seasons tale.
Of course that isn’t football, and whilst its fast moving nature is what gives those who fail hope and belief almost as soon as one campaign ends, it is the same frantic pace that means our achievements are soon nothing more than yesterdays chip paper (once kids, chips came in newspaper). For us, for every one of us that was there or that holds the club close to our hearts Saturday is forever. In the national media it is perhaps no more than the nice ending to the FA Cup story, a few ‘feel good’ column inches ahead of the end of the season. Locally it’s bigger news, but as media does they must cover all the news that is breaking too. They must tell you about Sam and Paul, because it’s new news. There would be no point in Radio Lincolnshire delivering an ‘on the hour, every hour’ news bulletin telling you we won the league would there?
So as they move on, I suppose I must to. It may just be my nature, but writing about things that have happened after the game seems to start drawing lines under what we have achieved. I feel Danny would be proud; we draw a line under Macclesfield and now we concentrate and Maidstone, Southport, Mansfield or Coventry. We enjoy our success for an hour, then it is on to the next challenge.
Only it isn’t, not for me. Our next challenge will come, I’ll write about it. The bus parade will come, I’ll write about it. I suppose eventually we’ll speculate on new signings, on which of our heroes won’t follow us into the promised land and of course we shall begin to look at who we’ll play when we are just another one of 92 Football League clubs battling for the headlines. Yes, all of that will come. For me though, and I’m sure for a number of you, I will never stop celebrating that league win. I will never just ‘park it and move on’. Thanks to social media and the explosion of technology there will always be a video for me to watch, a new angle to see it from or pictures to plaster on my website.
The 2016/17 season will never be completely over in my psyche, it will always be there ready to pick me up on a day when I’m down. It might be Nathan Arnold’s goal against Ipswich that I choose to watch, or it might be some Michael Hortin commentary as we take the lead against Torquay. It might be flicking through the programmes or inevitable publications that come out encapsulating what we’ve achieved. It might be chatting to my Dad and looking at my own personal photos of the day. You see we all have a ‘go to’ place now, when times are hard on the pitch or when we’re fighting our different personal battles of it. Where will your mind wander when things start to get tough, or when you have a moment which you want to fill with recollections of unbridled joy?
We’ll always have 22nd April 2017. We’ll always have Forest Green away. We’ll always have Turf Moor. We’ll always be the 2016/17 champions.
Thanks to Graham Burrell for the Terry Hawkridge once again.