Lee Payne: The journey has to be more important than the destination for Norwich City fans
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I've felt somewhat detached from football in the last couple of years - I love it less than I used to.
I was confused how something which had meant so much to me in the past was now a lot less important. Having thought a great deal about why this had happened – aside from broadening my horizons – I’d like to discuss one factor I believe has contributed to my football apathy: the obsession with winning.
‘Hang on! Isn’t winning kind of the whole point of sport?’ you might say. Well, no, I would argue that it isn’t.
Some of my fondest memories of watching sport have come when the team I’ve been supporting haven’t won. Applauding the Norwich City players as they came over to show their appreciation to the 8,000 of us in the away end at the Emirates in October was my favourite City moment of last year, and as we know that was a 2-1 defeat.
After the game, I heard a few comments about how well we had played responded to with ‘yeah, but we didn’t win’. Does it really matter? We support Norwich. We are going to spend a lot more time not winning than we are winning, so we might as well enjoy the game whatever the result.
Related to the topic of being obsessed with winning is being unable to accept defeat. Or at least being very poor at it. W
henever Norwich lose, you can’t escape the angry comments. I know it’s best to avoid the dark corners of Facebook or Twitter after a defeat but I just can’t help it.
There’s a ghoulish curiosity in just what they have blamed losing on this time.
You rarely read ‘we were beaten by the better team’ or ‘we just had a bad day’, which is usually what’s actually happened.
It’s got to be because the players weren’t trying, the referee was paid off by the opposition or – my personal favourite – because they are paid too much.
The players’ salaries never seem to be an issue when they win, but dare to suffer a disappointing result and you should suddenly be given a 90pc pay cut. This sort of nonsense is why I haven’t listened to Canary Call for about five years. I’m guessing it’s still the same on there.
If it is frustrating for me to read this sort of thing,
I can only imagine what it must be like for the players. They don’t like losing any more than the fans do.
They do actually go out to win every game, and unfortunately that doesn’t always happen.
More players than ever are on social media now, and you have to assume they read at least some of what is written about them.
After a bad result, they will already be in a bad mood. Do they really need to read that they haven’t put the effort in or that the wages they are paid contributed to a poor day at the office?
I will readily admit that in my job I am not always at my best. Some days I am right on it, some days I make mistakes. I don’t earn a great deal, but if I was given a massive pay rise it wouldn’t stop the cycle of good days and bad days. It certainly wouldn’t help if after I’d had a rough day at work I got abuse on Twitter. This is true for footballers.
I find the obsession with winning that a lot of fans seem to have wearing, and like I say I think it’s one of the reasons that I’ve lost a bit of the connection I once had to football.
I follow sport because I seek entertainment. I think entertainment can be found in winning, drawing or losing. I can’t imagine winning being so important to me that it overshadows everything else that sport has to offer.