“Beaten by an average team” is a phrase we can do without

Your team has just lost. You’re annoyed. You would love to be able to just ignore it… but you can’t, can you? You need to vent. You load up the laptop. You log into the messageboard. You click ‘Reply’ or, if you’re feeling particularly angry, perhaps even ‘New Post’. Oh dear…


Words come tumbling out. Furious words, some of which aren’t even words at all but two adjectives angrily thrown together to form a new term that your mother would certainly disapprove of. But she won’t see this. This is just for your fellow supporters – the others mired in the same world-hating self-loathing as you. You shake with rage as you hammer at the keyboard. And just when you didn’t think there was anything left, just when all the words were coming towards a dazzling conclusion, there it is… the final nail in the coffin of your dignity… “Beaten by an average team”…

Those couple of paragraphs came pretty easily. It’s not difficult to describe someone getting angry. It’s far more tricky to describe why something gets you angry, especially when very few things do. “Beaten by an average team” and its close relatives (references to “a poor side” and certainly any move towards that dreaded phrase “the likes of [insert supposedly unfashionable club here]”) are awful phrases for a supporter to use.

They are actually usually employed by a fan who has laid into his own club’s players in a thousand words or more. Just when it seems there is about to be a bit of recognition doled out to the side whose efforts defeated the bunch of lazy, good-for-nothing, workshy layabouts he or she has just laid into at great length, along comes an awkward reference to the victors being “average”. Anyone would think there was some sort of penalty for being magnanimous. Just take it on the chin.

So what makes the other team “average” or “poor”?

The fact they have spent less money than yours? To denigrate a club that is working with fewer resources than your own doesn’t seem particularly clever. If anything, their manager has done brilliantly to find a way to beat yours. Maybe that wasn’t the only good performance they have put in all season. Maybe they are actually a decent side who just happen to have a few players you haven’t heard of.

Did you label them “poor” because they haven’t lived up to expectations over the course of the season so far? They’re probably just inconsistent. You caught them on one of their few good days, but poor league form as a whole doesn’t make them average. It makes them extremely dangerous when it all clicks. Unluckily for you, it happened against your team.

Above all, maybe you need to accept that defeats happen. You can’t win every game, nor can you expect to gain at least a point from every match. Common sense, you may think. But there are plenty of fans who don’t seem to get it. Losing is not the end of the world and you will be a happier and better person if you are able to accept the occasional defeat rather than resorting to venom as soon as another team scores more goals than yours in one 90-minute period.

They may have been average. They may even have been poor. But desperate, throwaway, point-scoring terms like those do no-one any credit. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution. Let’s all try to accept defeat more graciously from now on. Agreed?

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

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