Being a Sevco fan right now is like waking up with a raging hangover.
Through the shakes and the sickness, your recollection might blip occasionally with the memory of some glorious revelry the night before, which you are sure in the moment was awesome, but whatever you experienced then is exactly that; a memory.
It belongs to another time and place.
Any appreciation of it has been obliterated by the ravages of the here and now.
Get together, later, with friends though, those who were there, and the swap of stories and tidings about how wonderful it was can easily sweep you into the same vomit filled gutter. There, amidst the fag ends and stale pee, you might experience something close to joy as you lie there with your eyes open looking up at the star-filled sky.
But it always comes down to the hangover.
In the morning, when you look at the state of yourself in the mirror, and at the clothes which lie, stinking, in a heap on the hall floor, when you consider the lightness of your wallet and the pounding in your head, that’s when what alcoholics refer to as “a moment of clarity” most often comes.
Sevco fans have been living in a drunken delirium for many months now; The Gerrard Revolution has seemed, at times, to them like a vivid dream too good to be true. But they’ve had the beer goggles on all the way through it.
Everything seems like a good idea when you are half cut and on a booze-fuelled glide.
Consequences are so tomorrow, if you even consider them at all.
Trouble comes up on you and gets right in your face without you even being aware of it lingering in the vicinity because nobody can tell you you’re being too loud, behaving too stupidly, or convince you that your “enjoyment” is driving everyone else nuts.
The beer goggles always come with the accompanying “deaf ears”. The last thing you want to hear when you’re drunk and merry is that it won’t last forever and that tomorrow you’re going to be very, very sorry. That’s how a lot of fights get started.
Gerrard has managed twenty six games at Ibrox.
He has won just thirteen.
That’s the reality, cutting through the haze, bringing with it the pain.
There have been sober voices over in La La Land, telling the rest to be careful, that Gerrard wasn’t experienced and that there was no real proof that he had the answers to the myriad problems which stalk their club.
They were drowned out by the boisterous, rowdy party-goers in the public bar.
They were told they were being kill-joys, urged to join in with the merriment or find somewhere else to hang out.
“Just don’t bring reality in here with you.”
Under it all was the implied threat that if they continued to rain on the parade that things might get ugly.
Everything looks ugly on the morning after the night before.
And it’s a matter of time before all the parties wake up sober but sick in body and heart and realise what they’ve done.
A mate of mine told me a story once which I gleefully shoe-horned into a fictional tale I published in my first book.
He was out one night with his brothers, drinking in a local pub. As the night wore on he got more and more interested in one particular woman. When his older brother spotted his infatuation he tried to talk some sense into him; this was, after all, not the belle of the ball.
Of course, my mate feigned anger at the mere suggestion he might fancy taking her home, yet at the end of the night his brothers watched in disgust as he approached her outside the pub, she sucking on a fag and scratching her armpits.
The following morning, he woke up in a dazed state and caught sight of who he’d gone up the road with. Self-loathing is a recognisable emotion in anyone who has ever found themselves in similar circumstances and at that point you are not overmuch concerned with the other person’s feelings.
He got up swiftly, meaning to depart before she woke.
He was wholly unsuccessful. She sat up in bed, and he got his first proper sight of her. If the drink hadn’t done it he felt especially sick at that moment. But the real denouement came when the fog in her own head cleared enough.
“Eeeew …. how the Hell did I end up with you?” she asked, her own voice radiating disbelief and revulsion.
It’s enough to put you off Smirnoff for life.
Sooner or later, everyone over there is going to wake up with that same disgust, and wonder how they ever ended up there.
This is what looms at Ibrox in the aftermath of last night’s bonkers match in Moscow, after which Gerrard was trying to convince people that his team showed attacking brilliance instead of merely coming up against a defence only slightly better than his own.
Everyone involved is waking up from the dreamy events of the party that’s been going on all summer … and realising none of them is happy with the way things look in the real world.
Fear and loathing once again stalk the halls at Ibrox.
People know this doesn’t end well.
Some will cling on tight for fear of making it worse.
Others believe that eventually a manager at Ibrox is going to need time.
Gerrard himself lacerates the defence he spent the whole transfer budget on, with a venom that suggests he must already be worried that it’s all slipping away.
He wants more money in January; it was ostensibly for signing a striker, now he might have to replace the back line.
He’s like a drunk meandering to the bar to buy a round for the table who hasn’t grasped yet that he no longer has his wallet; it was dropped somewhere, either at the pub or on the way from the taxi-rank.
He hasn’t yet twigged that the big project in which he places such store is a bust, that they are skint, or that some above him at Ibrox might not be terribly impressed with a manager who’s signed fifteen players and wants more.
The party’s over.
All that waits everyone over there is the hangover.
Everyone involved senses it, and even during the drinking they’re dreading it.
And of course, you can put it off a while by continuing to drink, by refusing to stop the party, but that gets expensive.
The hangover is still waiting.
It only means that the crash, when it comes, is bigger than it needed to be.
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