First-time TWW blogger Tartan Owl thinks you’re feeling anxious, and he knows why – and how to stop it…
Sadly the negativity which ensues then often spirals in to mistrust, blame, resentment, inappropriate change and frantic reaction. It strikes me that there is much anxiety around Hillsborough at present and my offering is that it is born of fear.
All too quickly a growing collective have become frantic for change and quick to abandon principles that have, let’s face it, delivered the best two seasons in nigh on living memory. So why? And so what?
Why are we anxious? Well if cognitive behaviour comes from our collective experiences we have a dire history of failing. We have been so spectacular at it that we use it in everyday parlance and anecdote – we all know ‘the Wednesday way’. Be it hanging on for dear life against the poorest of opposition only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, huffing and puffing against a team that on paper we should have put away by 3.10pm, or having an amazing team but deciding investment should be on the ground. Or, for that matter, having the most loyal and wonderful supporters but conceited duplicitous leadership that led to individuals getting rich from our beloved Wednesday and driving it to the very edge of football oblivion.
Perhaps we need to stop and ask why. Not in the name of sycophantic “happy clapping” but in order to draw a line, change the narrative, take control – and abolish anxiety and this fear not to believe.
Is the team all that bad? I would suggest not. OK, so it’s not the finished article or indeed competitive for a Premier League season, but it is good enough for this league…. especially if we change the narrative collectively.
I wrote to Carlos ahead of the playoffs last year – I cited my experiences of commanding soldiers across multiple operational theatres in the last 18 years of service, often in the most difficult of circumstances – I was trying silently, anxious to avoid wider condemnation, to do my bit. I cited his and the chairman’s integrity and my thoughts on team strength… of course, it wasn’t to be.
My experiences have taught me to change the view point. It’s easy to moan but when times are difficult dwelling on the negative won’t carry the fight or win the day. There has to be a positive reason to evaporate the anxiety and conquer the fear.
I can tell you, myself and those I commanded could at times literally sense, taste and smell fear as a result of mortal anxiety. What got us through was not panic nor knee jerk reaction. It was determination and belief in the team and vitally more than that. It was the connection to those thousands of miles away… that’s what won the day – the players (soldiers on the ground) and the supporters (families at home) together if you will, in spite of the physical distance.
I thought about writing this for some time, anxious of being judged, labelled a “bloody ‘appy clapper”. But it seems to me failure not to would only compound our issues and prove my point – casting out anxiety on my behalf needs more than my personal message to Carlos last year. I hope this can provoke the many to do the same.
How Carlos, the man with more integrity than Atkinson (he walked out, remember?) or better record than Wilkinson, dispels our fear is as much our making as his.
We have seen the grim reality of endemic failure. Those of us whose natural disposition is anxiety need not be happy clappers. We need simply to understand that there’s more to fear than daring to believe. We’ve been there, and it looked bloody awful in comparison to today.
We soldiers north of the wall, have an ethos; La a’Blair s’math n Cairdean, friends are good on the day of battle. Too true, whether they are beside you in the trench or afar in support – fear is where we have been and returning there. We have a good deal more to draw on for our collective fight… after all, we are all Wednesday aren’t we?