It`s been pretty difficult to write about football recently. In fact, today is the first day in just under two months I have felt like putting any words down about my beloved football club. For some reason, today`s launch of Leicester City`s 2013/14 kit seems like a good opportunity to face the past and move on.
Don`t worry; this isn`t going to be a heart-on-the-sleeve teenage blog post - at 28 years of age, it doesn`t seem hugely appropriate. But despite becoming a season ticket holder for the sixth successive year, I`ve barely thought about the new season lately. I`ve also tried to blank out how last season ended at Vicarage Road in May, but with little difficulty. It was the most difficult loss I`ve ever had to counter as a Leicester City supporter. Most neutrals will tell you that those 25 seconds from ecstasy to agony felt by so many on the day were justified. I would agree with that if I were a neutral.
This isn`t why I`ve been trying to steer clear of football. The reason is that even when so many supporters could see Leicester City slipping out of the playoffs during that torrid run throughout the last quarter of the season, I never once thought that the Foxes would miss out. Even on the last day of the season at the City Ground, 2-1 down against Nottingham Forest with time running out and needing other playoff hopefuls to slip up, there was no scenario in my mind that we wouldn`t be playing another game. And when Anthony Knockaert scored the winner in the dying seconds of second-half added time, it seemed destined to be our year. We would be that team that snuck in to the top six who no-one expected would do so.
After a nervy 1-0 first-leg win at the King Power Stadium, it seemed like the Foxes had a real shot at the top flight. Despite having lost to Watford just weeks before, and the Hornets arguably having the better of the match (and certainly more opportunities to score), it still seemed like we were destined. Up until that one moment in the second-leg - the missed penalty, and Troy Deeney`s decisive injury-time winner, it could still happen. The unusual thing is that I didn`t feel sad or annoyed afterwards, as I had done with the playoff loss in Cardiff three years earlier. I felt some sense of responsibility when the season was over, as though I had promised something and not kept to my word. After that, I vowed to stop expecting or hoping for too much from this game.
I don`t want this to be a sobering thought for others. And don`t get me wrong - I still think Leicester City is a fantastic football club, and its chances of returning to the top flight are much better than most teams at this level. I`ll always support the club - I really don`t think this is something you can choose. I`ll just now see any true success as a bonus when it happens and not a failure if it doesn`t happen.
Here`s to getting behind your team, and always keeping the faith.