Tuesday, 3 February 2015

An Ugly Lovely Victory

Eric Imhof on why winning ugly is sometimes the best kind of victory

“If one wants a better world, one does well to hold one’s breath,” Norman Mailer once wrote, “for a worse world is bound to come first.” 

I have to admit that such resignation was similar to my own going into this past weekend. Simply a goal in the second half—win, lose, or draw—was all I hoped for; any kind of resilience after the last two weeks would portend a decent, or at least respectable, sliding into home plate (excuse the mixed sports metaphors). 

Instead, Monk and Co. did what they seem to always do these days: defy expectations - laugh at them, really - in the most endearing, working-class-hero way possible. A gritty, calculated (and yes, at times, dull) performance away to Southampton proved a reversal of almost every trope now so familiar to the Swans faithful: an early goal squandered, a withering away into second-half obscurity, a silly mistake or two in the back, a red card just for the hell of it. 

No, not this time. This time Swansea finally did what so many fellow mid-table denizens do with such regularity that it seems to be a requisite for top-half status. Namely, they lost in every statistic except for goals scored. 

And it felt great, didn’t it? A sense of assurance came over me when I realized a draw as probable, let alone a victory. When Jonjo rifled in that torpedo (mixed ballistics metaphors to go with the mixed sports one), all I could think, except for simply “get in you beauty!”, was that this resembled a pedestrian Premier-League result - the kind I see West Ham getting, the kind I see Stoke getting, the kind I see Newcastle getting, but the kind I never see Swansea getting. With the 50/50 red card at the end going in Swansea’s favour (the biggest surprise of all), I finally felt what I imagine most other fans of most other teams feel: a sense that this was all entirely normal. 

With the ship steadied, and indeed reinforced (a nautical metaphor to complete the hat-trick), here’s to many more average days ahead. 

Many thanks to Eric for his latest piece - follow him on Twitter @AustinJackArmy. It's definitely a sentiment I agree with, and it's nice to see us winning without having to play well - in a traditional sense at least.