I genuinely love you, mate. Oi, don’t look down at your pint… I’m talking to you.
You can pick out a green shoot from the dullest light of a Luton Town false dawn. You can lasso five minutes of Lutopia from 90 of the most mundane, and let that orange thread drag you through the cold mud of the fixture list until you find next one. That little run. A bit of form. Season after season. The gentle throb of hope in the sole of each pristine adidas Gazelle.
They say it’s the hope that kills you. And fairy tales born from this forgotten end of football have been few and far between; but whatever your persuasion, so far 2016’s had its Roy of the Rovers pyjamas on, and you’d be a cold plastic seat in Milton Keynes if you didn’t let it get to you a bit.
Forgetting for a moment that Leicester have a Thai billionaire pouring money into fairly racist pre-season orgies and the pockets of unfancied, but nevertheless well-travelled tinkers and tinkermen, the fact that they’ve actually won the *actual* Premier League off the back of a relegation battle means something.
Just as Jamie Vardy and his next England rival Andre Gray climbing to the penthouse of the English game from its mouldy basement flat in a few short years means something too.
Maybe the money has dulled the senses of football’s powerful elite into impotence, leaving the gates to glory unguarded for a spikey-haired non-league underclass to pounce. The Ride of the White Vanaraman they’ll call it.
2016’s had that feeling of a crumbling status quo about it from the off though hasn’t it? Terror, war, fractured Unions from Scotland to Brussels, from classrooms to hospital wards. Bowie. Prince. Foundations creaking; your heroes dead. Could modern football be beginning to topple too?
Our own brief dalliance with what passes for continuity in the modern game ended too, with John Still heading back from whence he came and Nathan Jones ushering in a new era, attempting to strike his match on increasingly damp-smelling kindling.
But with that Leicester thing and that Vardy thing, and that Andre thing… In the space of a season it feels like football’s gone from being on its arse to being on its head. Like anything might be possible. The New Football.
We had a baby son recently. As a result, my attempts at regularly writing this, let alone getting on a train to Kenilworth Road have, like Peter Thomson, stumbled, scratched their arse and then just laid down on the floor for a bit. So I’ve decided it’s the right time to draw a line.
Since I started it in about 2011ish, this blog has been about the romance of this beautiful old Football Club’s decline and rebirth. It’s been about the plodding prospect of pubs and terraces, the piss on your shoes and the bruises on your calves. About you and me. From non-league and no hope, to where we are today: the brink of nailing down a shiny new ground, with a bright young manager in the brave world of New Football. Where there are no rules anymore. Or probably just loads more magnificent, dripping piles of inevitable Luton until we’re dead.
So this is the last post on the leftmidfield bugle. I’m off to indoctrinate my son into this weird thing of ours. I haven’t worked out if the club matters more now that he’s here or less. I’ll let you know in a bit, mate. Cheers for reading it all if you have.
Decent when Watford didn’t win a trophy again, wasn’t it?
Up the Town.