Date: 3rd April 2010 at 8:30am
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The ‘When the Ball Moves…Revisited’ series continues with another gem from Couch Potato.It was written with 6 games to go last season and is even more relevant now.

Our ‘When the Ball Moves…Revisited’ series continues with another gem from Couch Potato recalling this time last year when we similarly had six games to play..

It is however more relevant to this season and takes a lighthearted look at how we Clarets fans should deal with defeat, something sadly we have suffered from far too many times in our first season in the Premier League

Dealing with a Loss: The C.L.A.R.E.T.S. Plan

Fortunately, with 6 games still to go, we Clarets have not had to deal with too many losses this season. Which doesn`t mean that dealing with those losses has been easy. Wednesday on opening day… Barnsley on Boxing Day? Spurs at the bitter end of extra time? Wednesday when we should have been at Wembley? A loss is never easy to take.

So, with a clear warning that you should not take this too seriously (Do not try all of these at home at the same time!) here is The CLARETS Plan for dealing with loss.

CARLING (and other ‘knock-out` varieties). A very large number of people use this method of coping with disappointment and setback! It`s so good, we are even willing to pay a huge amount of tax on it. It comes in an almost untold variety of mixtures, strengths and brands. Its short term impacts can be wonderful; or terrible. Medium-term outcomes can be very bad. The NHS can offer lots of evidence and advice on the wide range of long-term outcomes. Our government offers guidelines on recommended levels of consumption, but seem happy if they get more taxes when we exceed them. So if Claret fans have exceeded the national consumption average this season, we can all be sure that at least someone will be happy when we cry out when in distress: “More Moorhouses! And up the Clarets!”

LAUGHTER. Laughter costs nothing, exercises an unbelievable number of muscles, usually helps us build bridges with other people (WARNING! Laughing at other people can cause unhelpful and dangerous reactions.) and makes us live longer. But why, if it is so good, is laughter so difficult to do (except at rivals) when we need to do it the most ? Yes, football is a funny old game. But losing at football is serious, not funny. I have nevertheless seen sad and tired fans collapse into fits of giggles. (See Carling, above.)

ANGER. Where would football be without the targets of our anger? Squad whipping boys, doomed managers, dodgy directors, corrupt financiers, debt-driven ‘super` clubs and Alex, sorry, Sir Alex Ferguson’s hair dryer. Sven tried to take anger out of the game, and look what happened to him. But do I feel better after an outburst of anger? Probably only if it is accompanied by a small helping of Carling therapy, and then only for a few hours. I am more one for controlled contempt and sustained scorn. But people tend to ignore me after a while.

RELIGION. Religion is hotly disputed territory. (May all of the gods that there may be shine on every one of us, and especially on Burnley Football Club!) There is, however, a mounting body of scientific evidence that living a spiritual life, and participating in a religious community does help with things like recovering from addiction. So I would be surprised if it did not provide relief to a good few fans, especially at times such as the winter of 2007, when – despite loss after loss after loss – people like me kept on addictively tuning in to Clarets World to get our vicarious fixes from fellow sufferers who travelled all over the country to get theirs straight.

As for some religions` claims to be able to prophecy the future, I am not so sure. But, I have recently stumbled upon this somewhat dodgy translation of the Bible`s Book of Revelation, from Chapter 19, Verses 20 and 21. This particular passage has been interpreted in a host of extraordinary ways on numerous previous occasions, many of them having no basis of fact in the original whatsoever, and giving rise to all sorts of flights of fancy. So hopefully no-one will get upset by my fanciful suggestion that this version spookily seems to foretell 23 awful minutes at White Hot Lane and a bad experience with Swans 4 days later:

“And The Beast was beaten? and those who worshipped his image. They were thrown into the Lane of fire? and all the birds gorged on their flesh.”

Perhaps we should all just accept our fate?

ESCAPE. Some people consider both Carling and religion as ‘escape`. Others dislike the very idea of ‘escape` because of its close links with another R-word. The advice here is to go to Blackpool and, as far as I know, Alan Mahon would recommend this too. But other Clarets may warn against it on a windy Tuesday in March, and advise that high hopes of new beginnings were cruelly dashed on the coast there last year. Perhaps taking to the hills is a more reliable plan? But, again, avoid windy days in March, or in almost any other month. And – rather like going to the Emirates – take your own lunch. If it`s the close season, both Blackpool and the hills may be at their best. But give thought to going further away while you have the chance, and try not to worry about the high Euro, Dollar and just about every other currency on earth, except perhaps the Icelandic Kroner, if that’s what it’s called. Maybe Joey can give advice on where to go and what to see?

TRIVIALITY. A good friend of mine, who is a Rangers fan, always offers these words of intended consolation at times of footballing loss: that football is ‘a magnificent triviality`. As best I understand his Glaswegian, this means that getting anywhere between one and a hundred thousand people to part with hard cash to watch twenty two averagely good looking blokes run around after a small ball is a pretty magnificent social accomplishment; but it doesn`t usually amount to a matter of life and death, or not being able to eat next morning. Fair point. But for 118 minutes on Wednesday 21January 2009 the Clarets were magnificent. But there was nothing in any way trivial about what happened next. Also, after trying an Emirates hot dog, I couldn`t hold down anything for two days!


Which leads me to the conclusion that all of the above have merit, and some more than others, but that none of the above are completely convincing and helpful for everyone. Which therefore just leaves?

SUCCESS! Have a pint beforehand. Buy a copy of WTBM and laugh at the jokes about B********. Shout about it, if the ref drives you mad. Praise the team and worship Robbie. Forget about everything else for a couple of hours. Amaze the fan in the seat next to you with statistics gleaned from The Clarets Chronicles about the glory years?

Pick yourself up! Get back on the Turf! Dare to dream of success! Up the Clarets!

Couch Potato