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Premier: Innn!
Written by StockwelllMickey on Monday, 6th May 2024 20:49

Football is never about the football. Saturday’s Ipswich-Huddersfield match was thrillingly dull. It was exhilaratingly uneventful. It was boring beyond our wildest dreams.

Huddersfield played their part, of course. Their Leeds-hating fans were desperate to lose, and their team didn’t disappoint them. Did the Huddersfield players pick up on the vibe from their fans? Were they already on the beach? Are they just genuinely that bad? I can remember only one shot on target – a going-through-the-motions drive straight at Hladky.

Whatever the reason, Ipswich bossed the game, more than I can remember any team bossing a game ever. We had 110% possession. At 12:30, I felt physically sick. By 12:35, I felt completely relaxed. It wasn’t so much a question of whether Huddersfield would score, but whether they would touch the ball.

All the great teams play in the image of their manager, whether it’s Klopp’s heavy-metal football or Mourinho telling his players “don’t be a nice guy – be a c***”. Never mind Huddersfield – following McKenna’s lead, it was Morsy, Massimo and the rest who were on the beach; but in a good way, strolling around in the sunshine. Booting a ball around with their mates.

The news filtering through from Elland Road brought smiles, but smiles of schadenfreude, not of relief. We didn’t need any favours from the Saints, and we certainly didn’t get any from the referee.

But there were no howls of anguish at the cast-iron penalties not given. What did it matter? We got a second goal without getting out of second gear. It was Gordon Ramsey making a ham sandwich or Max Verstappen doing the school run – experts doing what they do, utterly relaxed, on easy mode.

By the time the substitutes came on, we were barely even watching events at Portman Road. We were picturing Anfield, Old Trafford, the Emirates. Had the whistle even gone when the guy in the away kit with the Jamaican flag crossed the touchline? When the Huddersfield keeper gave a pitch invader a congratulatory pat on the back? “The pitch is for players and officials only” bleated the keyboard warriors on Facebook. No – the pitch is for football. And this is football.

Al-Hamadi flying his flag; Sarmiento messing up the “What do you think of Norwich?” chant; McKenna kissing his daughter; Harry Clarke crying; Morsy getting hoisted up into the directors box; Leif giving Luongo a piggyback; Ladapo’s trousers with the giant footballs on; McKenna getting the bumps; selfies in the goal net; WAGs; the cardboard boxes of Peroni scattered – charmingly amateurishly – around the edge of the penalty area; the players’ kids playing football on the pitch; random kids taking selfies in the dug-out, McKenna’s now-empty iPad stand undisturbed and unstolen; Harness chasing Leif to the dressing room spraying champagne; Wes whirling that massive balloon; “My name is Edward Ebeneezer Jeremiah Brown, but everybody call me Ted”.

What will happen next season? What will happen is Match of the Day; a new kit with Premier League patches on the sleeves; Portman Road on FC25; Hladky on a Panini sticker.

The football? That is the football.

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Bluespeed225 added 22:26 - May 6
So true, the actual football was a sideshow, this was joy in unity, in witnessing something so specialI don't think we'll realize it until Haarland is getting stick from The north stand.

armchaircritic59 added 01:29 - May 7
Always thought Edward Ebeneezer Jeremiah Brown should have been adopted as the town anthem, very original. Though for sure, one or two of the lyrics would need changing. Not many rattles and rosettes seen these days!

slade1 added 07:00 - May 7
Brilliant article

Europablue added 10:15 - May 7
A good read

Chickenstochurchmans added 13:18 - May 7
A brilliant article Stockwelll, describes exactly our real reasons for loving the game. Thanks. Please write more. And great to see the crowd on the pitch afterwards with players carried on shoulders. To think that for the last 20 years of dross we were told not to encroach on the pitch so that the players could do a lap of honour!

george17 added 19:14 - May 8
Great article - and they did it all on a fraction of the budget of our rivals, not that it is getting acknowledgement from them or the pundits. Never mind, facts are facts.

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