As Huddersfield and Barnsley knocked the ball about in extra time yesterday, in a mutually beneficial act of time wasting, it was only likely to upset one club: Peterborough.
Both teams had played with passion and urgency throughout the ninety minutes, but when news of Crystal Palace taking the lead filtered through, both teams decided to take the sting out of the tail, and as a result both secured the draw needed to guarantee safety and relegate Posh. When the final whistle went both teams celebrated with signs of passion and enthusiasm that will never be forgotten. After a tense game, both teams had survived, so they celebrated. I doubt they considered Peterborough’s feelings whilst celebrating, but why should they?
Now for many Huddersfield Town fans, this could not have been any better. Not only had we secured another year in the Championship, but we had also relegated the team who had humiliated us in the play off final at Old Trafford.
It wasn’t the defeat that left fans upset with Peterborough however, their conduct afterwards, according to some, left a lot to be desired.
They celebrated their victory and mocked us in the process. Now I don’t wish to upset people, but I personally never had a problem with this.
They won the game, and in wearing t-shirts with “believe” printed on them, added to the fact that some of our fans ended up fighting each other, we can hardly argue that we didn’t make ourselves obvious targets.
We hadn’t just given them a gun to shoot us with, we’d given them a weapons factory and a lucrative arms deal too.
To expect them not to mention this and not laugh at our expense was a bit like hoping that you could loudly foul yourself in school and expect that nobody would mention it.
Peterborough fans acted the way any fans would react. They celebrated a brilliant victory for their club, and savoured our humiliation in the process.
Their chairman mentioned us in a speech to fans and said something along the lines of “they can wipe their arses with their t-shirts” but this was him talking to fans of his club, and actually says little more than “those t-shirts did you no good”
Now you’ll always get a few morons who take it too far, but you cannot begrudge a comparatively small club, like Peterborough, a day in the sun.
They earned it, let them have it, move on because as Saturday proves in a cyclical game like football, your day will come too.
Football is transient, today’s victories are so swiftly followed by tomorrow’s defeats. To get resentful of fans and players enjoying great moments goes against the very nature of the game. If you win, you savour it. In a game where you win or lose, they’ll always be someone getting upset.
It’s also worth remembering the moments you lose, and bottling those emotions, as to truly appreciate victories, you must have experienced defeats.
It is now so often the case in football that an enormous furore follows celebrations.
Quite often players refuse to celebrate against their old team, which to me is as a gesture as hollow as an Easter egg. If you really cared, you’d refuse to play. You’ve scored, celebrate. Chances are your old team received a big bag with “swag” written on it in exchange for your services, so you go and enjoy it. It might be the last goal you score, so what if you upset people in the process?
Football matches are often defined by small moments, just as seasons are frequently defined by individual games. We must enjoy them when they go our way, and suffer when it goes against us.
If we don’t have the freedom to celebrate in football, then is there any point actually watching at all?