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Terry Pierce - Hope: Lifeblood of the tortured football fan

Published: 07 Sep 2010 - 07:39:23

With the Football League season heading into September, and most clubs on the verge of completing their first half-dozen games, the campaign is picking up speed across the three divisions.

But every pundit, player and manager will suggest that the league table is irrelevant at this stage. Its distorted by the fixture list - and luck - and as the season rumbles on the real contenders will come to the fore.

So exactly when do the tables really become important, and start to mean something?

And when do results matter more than performances?

As a Swindon fan, I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to ignore our terrible start to the season, instead focusing on the cliches that managers love to spout when they're having a wretched start.

We're close to playing well; we're not getting the breaks; it's early days; we're still gelling as a squad.

All possibly valid reasons - or excuses - why a side that finished last year just outside the automatic promotion spots before getting to the play-off final is now languishing at the foot of the table, but still cause for slight concern.

The Robins (as I loathe to call them) are the only side in League One yet to win a game, but speak to the majority of Town fans and they will still insist their side will be challenging at the top end when May comes round again.

But when do you start worrying? When does the bad start begin to manifest into a poor season?

And when does the snowball of discontent start forming?

If you're a Southampton fan, the proverbial snowball was more like a catastrophic avalanche, but most managers would suggest somewhere between the end of October and the end of the Christmas period as a guesstimate for when the league settles into some sort of pattern.

As a football fan, its very easy to get sucked into knee-jerk reactions after a handful of games, but football at this time of year is all about hope.

And anyway, we're only seven points off top spot and Oxford are four above the drop zone.

I'd take that at the end of December.

Non-League Day a sweet succes

In other news, the international break over the past weekend saw the first ever national Non-League Day, where every season-ticket holder of a professional club could get discounted entry into a non-league match.

And by all accounts the weekend was a roaring success, with accounts being the operative word.

So many non-league sides struggle financially in the current armchair-fan culture, so the massive spike in crowds at tiny grounds across the country would have been a welcome boost for the salt-of-the-earth non-league scene.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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