PRE-SEASON... CALM IT
Remember it? The constant moaning just to pass time and fans of the same clubs embroiled in social media disputes? It's back.
Since mid-April until about this time last week, apart from the unnecessary grumble about an apparent lack of incomings, Wanderers' fanbase was seemingly actually 'together'. There was a serious sense of really pulling together, same direction etc in the most clichéd sense of the phrase. That lasted long ey?
A 0-0 draw at Fylde backed up with a 2-0 defeat to Fleetwood has reaffirmed the frankly bizarre overreaction principles of our support. I wrote an article the other week questioning the standard of our warm up matches and the potential negatives of playing a poor selection of fixtures. The stand out, for me, would've been the negativity surrounding one or two poor results. Well, there we go. Undoubtedly, there are obvious negatives with losing matches, I'm not delusional enough to deny that. I'll also acknowledge that criticising pre-season results of your own team is part and parcel of a social media fan. I just find it ridiculously naïve, short-sighted and the temperament of those getting that worked up about it should be checked out.
A tweet that sticks in my mind is the clamour for a return of Jay Spearing and a need for control in midfield. This was an immediate reaction to losing an uncompetitive match away at a team that finished just a few points behind us last season. Perhaps, Spearing would be useful next year but to decide he is an utter necessity on the back of this is emblematic of the classic Bolton meltdown. The rage that is caused by pre-season is genuinely unhealthy. Parkinson was unhappy with the performance on Saturday, brilliant. That's exactly what pre-season is for. If there are uncertainties and incomplete tactics, systems, selections (and so on) then you use these games for that. Which is what he'll do.
It's not quite Villa fans booing a 0-0 draw at Walsall but after such a positive feeling in the stands towards the end of last season, diminishing that on the back of a draw in a friendly is simply silly. There are things to be genuinely sceptical and concerned about at our club so the emphasis that is placed on these games is detrimental to actual key issues. Focus your frustrations on things that actually matter rather than the trivial nonsense of a pre-season defeat.
....AND just to use some examples to explain how little it really matters, here are some other Championship sides 2017 friendly results:
Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Aston Villa
Grimsby Town 2-1 Barnsley
Torquay United 2-0 Bristol City
AFC Wimbledon 3-0 Burton Albion
Chelsea 8-2 Fulham
Oxford United 2-1 Hull City
Gillingham 2-1 Ipswich Town
Barnet 1-0 Millwall
St Johnstone 3-0 Sunderland
Shrewsbury Town 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers