Game 27 & 28
Dundalk 4-1 Sligo
Dundalk 2-1 Bohs
This is more like it right? The fans have returned to Oriel and the players have responded. Two huge wins in a week and things look like they’re back on track.
The return of fans cannot be overstated. I remember writing after the Vitesse game in Tallaght about how much it helped the team having the crowd with them. I felt like the crowd made a monumental difference in the Cup replay with Finn Harps and that feeling, that encouragement continued in the last week.
I couldn’t go to Oriel for the Bohs match because, in an act of kindness which backfired spectacularly, when lifting a bag of soil in the garden I did some damage to my back and I’ve been stumbling around the house like Quasimodo ever since.
In an act of desperation, I threw a load of painkillers into me, hoping that a miracle would occur and I could at least function as a human being or at the very least find someway to sit comfortably for more than 5 minutes. Neither of these things happened.
What did happen was I sat uncomfortable at home and watched the game. Then in a spectacularly dangerous move had a whiskey and appeared live on a podcast. I apologise if I made zero sense, I don’t remember a lot of what I said but I was reminded of one thing in particular.
There was a void left when fans weren’t in the ground. When we couldn’t go and cheer the team on or vent our frustrations and that void had been filled with podcasts and things like that. During that time, results were bad, performances were bad and things off the pitch were worse and the podcasts and journalists pointed these things out.
I’m a part of that and I know I’ve been critical and I’ve demanded better from everyone concerned. But I’ve never not been a fan. I’ve never not wanted what’s best for the team.
What really irritates me is when things start to turn, results start to improve and performances start to improve and we’re 8th instead of 9th, there are people who want to throw that in people’s faces. Like ‘What are you going to talk about this week huh?’ or ‘Sure you thought they’d get relegated’ or ‘You’re a doom merchant, you’re probably happy when they lose’.
I’m tired. And on the podcast I was ‘tired and emotional’ and I questioned whether the void filling podcasts and blogs were beneficial and whether there was just too much talk.
It feels dumb to have to point this out but there are people who apparently need to be reminded that the people on these podcasts and the people who are writing about Dundalk FC are actually Dundalk FC fans.
And you know what else? The fans in the ground have been immense these past couple of games and they deserve so much more. They deserve stability and progression. Long term commitments, long term contracts, some sort of vision. Let’s not forget that we are still battling to get away from the relegation places.
These podcasts are essential. These blogs and opinion pieces are essential. But what we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks is that the most essential thing is having the fans in the ground behind the team.