Terri Westgate: Let’s be patient... it’s probably not as bad as you think
Patience is a virtue. Though it is one we rarely have time for in the modern world.
I write as someone who bails on video clips if I’m not engaged within 10 seconds. No, I won’t “wait for it”.
I’ve hundreds of missed tweets to catch up on, and a host of Instagram stories about to expire. Not to mention the latest boxset that everyone has been raving about, that I need to consume before I become late to the party and the discussion has moved on.
We live in the digital age, where we are constantly connected and updated. Many news stories seem out of date as soon as they are published. If we want something, within a few seconds it is bought from our armchair and we expect it delivered the next day if not sooner. We all have a voice online through various channels and are constantly encouraged to express an opinion, before we’ve had a chance to cognitively form it.
It’s in this spirit that many took to social media following the frustrating defeat against Derby on Saturday. Some were demanding action, even if they weren’t sure what it was. A few even suggested that Farke only had one match left to save his job. How quickly all that pre-season optimism has evaporated. A few unlucky results and the faith of some seems to be wavering.
Let me redress the balance. We are just four games into a 46-match season, being played in extraordinary circumstances. The squad is in turmoil with transfer rumours and the vultures of wealthy clubs circling over our nest of young talent.
Key players are being sold to ensure the financial future of our club, which is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds with every game played behind closed doors. Most of all the team have to battle on through this without us, the yellow army to cheer them on. They are playing in vast empty structures designed to be packed with people.
Even with the above circumstances considered, have the opening fixtures really been that awful? There have been changes to the personnel, some enforced by injuries (when will that curse end!), so we’ve yet to have a stable line up. But the spine of the team is starting to form.
Tim Krul continues with his excellent form in goal unchallenged, and Ben Gibson’s debut produced a promising partnership forming with Christoph Zimmermann. Oliver Skipp and Lukas Rupp proved a pivotal duo controlling midfield. The one thing that has been disappointing so far has been the final ball and the finishing – epitomised by the unlucky slip as Teemu Pukki took his penalty.
We clearly used up all our good fortune two years ago with that momentous title winning season. However, the first four games of that season were also disappointing. We were playing well but it was a squad with new players, it wasn’t quite gelling, we just needed a few goals to get going – sound familiar?
I am not saying that history will repeat itself, and we will run away with the league as we did before. I am just throwing out some nuggets of hope. It’s better to be playing well but not getting results at the start of the season, than to see form and luck desert you during the run in.
The absence of fans from the stadium is undoubtedly a factor. This is a squad that responds to the noise of the crowd, we lift them when they go a goal down and keep them fighting until the final whistle. And I would have swapped my cosy Saturday afternoon on the sofa for standing on the Barclay in the pouring rain, in a heartbeat.
However, they must toil on without us and learn to cope with the silence. We still have a squad of great talent, and experience at this level. There are 42 games yet to be played. It’s time keep the faith and hold our nerve. This is not time to panic. We must learn to be patient.