Hocus Pocus and the Mentalists!

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Hocus Pocus and the Mentalists! Published 16/03/18 on Moore Than Just A Club

The anticipating crowds rush into the auditorium; expectant and hopeful of a spectacle that will be logged in the memory banks for tumbling years, that will entice smiles and gratitude of actions less regrettable!

On stage there are voids where instruments await their players to join them under the blinding spotlights, partially obscured by plumes of dry ice floating across the divide. Then…the scene is dimmed and the announcer bellows, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome on stage…!” The audience erupts into cheer and deafening clapping of palms…then from stage right and from left…we emerge to play the gig of our lives. “I am Hocus Pocus and these are my ‘Mentalists’!”

We have all had childlike day dreams of what we could become…whether a rock star, an actor…an astronaut or a fireman…but the very few and fortunate ever realise that goal and fewer still would cherish the position which they hold.

Football players in the higher echelons have become the super rich, powerful and in some cases, the cause celebres because of their antics but more become the core celebs amongst their appreciative fandoms. The questions have begged to be asked for some time now…Do they really care about the fans? Do they give their absolute all for the club they play for and are they truly appreciative of the position they hold? Many would say the answer to all of those questions is a resounding, No!

For much of the claret and blue masses, this season can’t be over soon enough. If only West Ham could survive the battering rams from the wealthy and stealthy opponents…and the barrage from the increasingly disgruntled, disconsolate and possibly depleting fanbase. If only there were bridges to build, honesties spoken and faiths restored in the ownership and the team too. The fans need a magical wand to wave over their predicaments, an illusion to wow in disbelief and a miracle to make us see the claret sparkle new with a splendid blue hue.

Many fans would judge upon results and perceived performances they witness either whilst sat…or stood…at games or from the comforts of home or ale houses. There is knowledgable opinion that bleeds through the huddle which is often construed as misgivings and misguided rhetoric…however those who would question the validity of such opinion may want to check their egos at the door and approach with humility and candour.

There are probably few, if any, fans around the globe who haven’t dreamt about being a professional footballer at some point in their lives. It’s only natural to have such dreams; when as children to worship our playing heroes and attempt to emulate their talents on the school playing fields, the Sunday park or on the streets. I still have those dreams…and I am not as old as my father but a hell of a lot older than my son! I dream of being transported back in time, to be discovered as a 16yr old lad and signed up to a professional contract and the very next week to make my debut for my beloved Hammers!

I still dream of playing and leading us to win the domestic treble in my first season, the same again the next season but add the Champions League trophy too…even a third season with another quadruple but add the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup titles too…whilst not forgetting a few Charity Shields along the way just to complete the set. Yes, I know this is mere fanciful nonsense but also within my dreams I face the inevitable and unenviable decision whether to stay or leave when Real Madrid come calling. In my dreams I always say no…then I wake up…and I’m still saying, “No, No, No!”

My dream…no matter how deluded it may sound, was always to play for West Ham United…nobody else. It has been with me my whole life and I’m sure it will remain with me until my last breath. It is this connection with a team that I try to impart on my son who brings up the next generation of Hammers’ fans.

As in life, we strive to do the very best we can, but without purpose and effort, then we are wandering around the dusty plains without a compass to guide us home. As individuals, we need to focus on whatever goals we have set for ourselves and perform to the best of our abilities to hopefully achieve them. However, normal life does not seem apparent nor comparable to footballing trials…although most of us would deem it should!

Most lucid fans will readily admit they do not have the talents or the aptitudes to play football at a good standard, let alone at the highest levels. However, many players fail to realise that most fans are analysing from afar, objectively critiquing and tactically manoeuvring from remote points of view. They can observe the good and the bad…and can see right through individual and team performances that are not up to par.

Fans will tend to compare footballing performances to their own daily working lives too. If you’re a bricklayer and you screw up every other line of bricks laid, then you would expect your foreman to be having a very strong word with you…if not handing you your marching orders! However in football, it seems the same rules do not apply and this is where the frustration and confusion stems from.

Players seem increasingly disconnected with fan’s values and perceptions whilst many seem reluctant to perform at their very best. Much of the time it is merely a matter of appearances! Players seem lacking in confidence, purpose and effort, fans react with dissension, criticism and frustration…one feeds the other and the other in turn feeds it back.

For each encounter yet to come, the fans will urge and pray for players to hold their heads high and deliver performances that we know are there somewhere. The dreams we hold so dear, we would share and hope they would grab hold of and take as their own. We need a lifeline to settle our nerves and make us rise like Devonshire cream. We yearn for magic games and mind blowing performances…we need much of my childhood dreams and play like Hocus Pocus and the Mentalists. We need the performance of our lives!

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