Alastair's Blog

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It’s my blog and I’ll be a big kid if I want to

Posted on 26 May 2009 | 11:05pm

I read somewhere
the other day that I was a ‘prolific blogger.’ Am I? I don’t think so. One a
day most days, like shaving, very occasionally two, but I try to ensure it
takes up no more than twenty minutes to half an hour. 

If I was a proper blogger,
I’d have been straight on with another one after the fabulous time I had MCing
part of the celebrations of Burnley’s promotion to the Premiership.

If I was a proper vlogger, I’d have surrounded myself with camcorders and got
stuff recorded to put up here pronto. I don’t even own a camera, or a
camcorder. Instead we’ll be begging and borrowing footage from wherever we can
find it, so that when it eventually goes up, you’ll be thinking ‘God, is he
still going on about that bloody football match?’

In fact some of you have
probably been saying that already, and may even have twigged that the ‘am I a
proper, am I a prolific blogger?’ stuff at the top is just a slowburn excuse to
go on about the bloody football team again.

But think about it. It is my website. It
is my blog. And yes, I feel some vague responsibility and-or need to say
something about politics most days, (like how a Tory government will probably
legislate to stop goals being scored, or Georgie Thompson being on Sky Sports
News,) but when what happened on Monday happens, it is hard just to move on and
say oh well, let’s stop talking and 
thinking about that.

I mean how many football fans get the chance to do with I did yesterday? Stand
on the balcony of the town hall, sing football songs very loudly through a huge
PA system to get the crowd going, commentate to the crowd as the players emerge
around the corner in their open-top bus, welcome them to the balcony in small
groups, and interview half the team, the chairman and the manager, with huge
cheers greeting their every utterance?

Frankly, I think it would be a bit odd if I didn’t say something about it.

So what to say? Well first, I am sometimes critical of Burnley fans for not
having enough songs, and not adapting songs around current events. So their
chant as I was being interviewed on the BBC before the bus arrived – ‘you’re
only here on expenses’ – was, albeit untrue, witty and I hope a sign of wit to
come when the big boys roll into town.

But the most important thing about yesterday was the
hope and confidence that you felt around the town. It was not just about
football. But it was football that had created it.

Among the dozens and dozens of messages I got yesterday, one that made me
laugh out from West Brom fan Adrian Chiles. ‘Welcome to hell. Enjoy the
feeling. It won’t last.’

And of course it won’t. Life is not about euphoria even if we have occasional
passing moments of it. Life, if you ask me, is about setting objectives and
working hard to try to meet them. It is about knowing what you’re good at and
trying to do it to the best of your ability. It is about being part of a
broader community.

It’s what Burnley FC have done rather well this year.

Thanks too to Danny Finkelstein of the Times for sending me stats which say we
have a better statistical chance of staying up, based on form, than the pundits
might suggest. I’ll ignore what he said about Labour’s electoral position. What
does he know? (Other than about football, obviously)

Anyway, enough already. I suppose to sum it up, I would
say match day was a great day, open top bus day was a great day, and now the
players and coaches go on holiday, then the hard work of preparation for next
season begins in earnest. 

For now, I’m off to Rome to keep an eye on one of our Premiership opponents
next season.

Oh my God, you say, now he’s going on about that other bloody football team
run by his Scottish mate who never talks to the BBC. I might. I already have,
as it happens, with a series of articles for La Repubblica, one about Fergie,
one about the songs United fans sing, a third about how I delayed my departure
to the Big Game to celebrate the outcome of the earlier Big Game.

And if I sound like a big kid, well tough. Some days I am, and make no apology
for it.

  • Stu

    Been enjoying your Burnley-related thoughts since you started your blog.

    I’m hoping another Scottish manager is celebrating at Wembley on Saturday. Then I am sure I’ll be going on about that all next week myself – big kid that I am!

  • Em

    Of course it’s your blog, write whatever you want. What do you care what other people think? Plenty of political news out there, mostly moaning.

    I rarely see you wanting to rock ‘n roll all night and party every day. Enjoy the moment.

  • John Michael White

    It’s one of the sad truths of football that whilst the joys of victory are fleeting, the pain of certain defeats stay with you forever. While it lasts though, man alive, what a high.


  • Ian H


    I’ve been a life-long Fulham fan and, as such, have endured more lows than I have highs. Having said that, I do remember where I was when Mo Al Fayed bought the club, and was there when we won promotion from the old 4th division right up to, finally and oddly, winning a place in Europe for next year. As others have mentioned, football brings fleeting, but memorable highs. Enjoy it. If your time in the Premier division lasts one season or ten, enjoy each and every one of them (even if you are 11 minutes from relegation as Fulham were last year). Despite all of the highs, lows, and indifferent seasons that Fulham have had in the top flight, I still look back to playing Burnley and other teams on the way there. All good stuff, and the poorer seasons merely serve to undeline the highs of the best. Enjoy 🙂

  • Catriona Smith

    It’s you that feels guilty about being happy… We’re all happy for you!

  • Gabrielle L-P

    Good for you Alastair, Enjoy the moment, breath it in & keep the memory of it! Life is far to short to do anything less. As for being a big kid, you’re a man aren’t you all at heart?

    ps Prolific blogger NO, I know some who blog several times a day (Goodness only knows where they find the time & the content is not always up to much)

  • Jane A

    I second what Emilie said – it’s your blog and your right to fill it with what matters to you. I have loved reading the Burnley stuff since the blog began, so keep up the good work. No complaints from me, ever, about football talk interspersed with politics talk. You have the balance right.

  • David Barrett

    27 years our little sojourn lasted in the top flight. Now it seems like a lifetime ago. I still can’t quite come to terms with life in the lower leagues. Some suggested winning more regularly in the Championship would be better than surviving in the Premiership. What a load of bollocks that was. Enjoy your time there Alistair, however long it should last. Football may not be a matter of life and death but the odd win over the Reds (mid nineties 3-1 and 6-3 come to mind) and others sure helped to get you through the week. I wonder if the same is true when smashing them in (some hope) against Yeovil and the like.
    Southampton fan Dave

  • Kris K

    Am glad Burnley managed to go up – Coyle had you playing some excellent football. I just wanted to pick up on your point re the impact that the game had on the town. I’m a Wolves fan, a labour market analyst (living in London) and not really appreciated how bad the social situation was in Wolverhampton – spiralling unemployment, lack of labour demand and factories shutting down at an alarming rate – but for a few days all of this was forgotten. The Saturday we went up against QPR was magnificent and the city was buzzing with excitement. It may well be a short lived feeling, but worth it all the same. Here’s to Premiership football next year!!

  • Matt

    If Cameron or anyone else ever takes Georgie Thompson off screen, he has had it. She is the best! Well done you. I saw you going nuts on the balcony last night. Singing lessons for the Premiership pal

  • Phil Smith

    It is just such a shame that Coyle avoiding the question about celtic.PLEASE COYLE DONT GO

    der der der der OWEN COYLE

  • Clackers

    I’m mad about most sports, but the win over the Blades has given me one of the best highs ever.

    Alastair – please keep blogging away re all things Claret. The more the better as far as I’m concerned.

  • Elizabeth

    re. Iraq Enquiry – how dare you have the temerity to suggest that Tony Blair wanted ‘a peaceful outcome’ to Iraq? How could this ever be possible when it was *you* and the then Prime Minister who had responsibility for feeding information re 45 minutes to the Press in the first place? As Communications Director, it was your responsibility to ensure the Press had access to the information that you/Downing St wanted them to have – so to now attempt to twist events by saying that it is the Press who attributed a greater significance to your words is spin on an Olympic level.

    Ever since Labour has been in power, politicians and nit-wits like you have refused to acknowledge or to feel any shame for your words and actions. It is always everyone else’s fault.

    Shame on you.