26 April 2012

When "SORT IT OUT" won't do

First posted on lutontownfans.co.uk on 9/12/11
Now we know that the Luton crowd isn’t always the most reasonable or intelligent beast (not you obviously, you’re a LEGEND) but finally taking the step to call for a manager’s head is not a decision that most take lightly...
Whether you have hurled a phlegm splattered "BRABIN OUT!" towards the dugout this week, knees bent and back arched for leverage in the way our ancestors might have done, or attached a snide #brabinout to an anonymous tweet in the dead of night in the hope of spikey haired socially awkward cyber coup d’├ętat; most travel a fairly patient and restrained journey to these words.

Though not always obvious, the majority of our following go to games wanting the manager to do well and the team to win matches. They want to be swept along in a tidal wave of six nils and media praise that washes manager of the month awards against the gates of Kenilworth Road. They want to pull the gaffer into their ample man bosom, kiss him on the head and buy him a pint. To sing repetitive songs about his army while locked in pubs that smell like drains.
We all know how it starts. First it’s the lone psycho in the block screaming SORT IT OUT *insert manager's name* after easy one nil wins, like his children’s lives’ depend on it. This bloke usually raises a few smiles, but he was almost definitely in the street shouting the same thing at the postman this morning - the blood of his latest victim still warm on his bare feet.
Next it's the groans. Not the standard groans of the misplaced pass or the corner that hits the first man (they’re our players, we can groan if we want to). It’s the groans at the announcement of the team sheet and the groans at the substitutions and at the excuses (or lack of) at press conferences. For better or for worse, this is the default condition of most Luton fans.
Then it’s the song. By this point large sections of the crowd are f*cking angry. It’s gone on too long and he needs to know about it. “*insert manager’s name* SORT IT OUT, *insert manager’s name**insert manager’s name* SORT IT OUT” echoes from the Maple corner, taking in a few brave souls seated in the more sedate climbs of the main stand en route to the directors box. *This should be the stuff of dreams for lone psycho fan, but he’ll never be happy.
For all its bile and grumbling-under-the-breath that follows, the ‘sort it out song’ implies that we’re still on his side. That we want him to do something to halt our decline and drag us out of this slump.
Now most supporters never get to the next step. Because the next step is calling for another man to lose his job. In the end football IS a game (there I said it) and recent events remind us all of the fact that it’s not actually "much more important" than life or death, as someone Scottish once said. What it is though is a livelihood. And no matter the hand wringing that goes on about over the top boo boys or message board trolls, the reality is that lots of us know what losing a job feels like and we don’t come quickly to wish it upon another.
But this week’s chorus of “Brabin out” seems to be coming from all corners of the supporter base. From pension book to Facebook. The time of lone psycho fan has come and gone. And it's not because we don’t want him to sort it out. But because we no longer think he can.

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