Normally when you sit down to put your thoughts on paper, you have some inkling of what those thoughts are going to be and a fair idea of the direction you want to head in. This time, just like when we started this week’s pod, I can honestly say that I have no idea where this rambling mess of words might take me, so trust me when I say that even though I will have written it, at this moment in time, the last paragraph will have been as big a surprise to me as it is to you.
We were once relegated for financial mismanagement, a two-year cycle ended with one of the most famous nights in the club’s history, made all the sweeter by the fact it was in Tolka, against them, and they had the champagne bottles ready to pop until Graham Cummins deep in injury time, changed history forever. “Blow Your Fucking Whistle” is synonymous with that night, with that team, with that first division title, in that place and time, with the fans run club winning a league and returning the club to its rightful place.
We were once relegated during covid, a two-year cycle ended with one of the clubs most famous sons winning a league that we were never supposed to win, Galway & Waterford had bigger resources, deeper pockets, better players blah blah blah, but come the seasons end Colin Healy and his squad, who according to Alan Cawley in a live, season preview, some nine months earlier had predicted “might surprise a few people and make the playoffs”, had their hands on the first division trophy and were returning the club to its rightful place.
We were once relegated during the most disastrous season in the clubs thirty-nine-year history, a two-year cycle ended with… no fuck that, there is no two year cycle this time, its one and done, it has to be as nothing else can be remotely acceptable to the fan base. If supporters who had just taken over the club can secure a first division title within two years, and the same supporters can again secure said title in the same timeframe despite a financial meltdown of cataclysmic proportions, surely a financially strong club backed by a multi-millionaire, who will most likely be the only professional team in the division can get it done at the first go? Surely?
I’m starting to realise that the most painful thing about this relegation, isn’t that it happened, its not what lies behind us and the reasons for said relegation. We accept those, as hard and all as it is to do, we got what we deserved in every way. It’s what lies ahead that kills me, Colin Healy’s two-year cycle had Shels and Galway and then Waterford and Galway, clubs we knew would be a challenge, games we knew would be big, trips that did excite you no matter the division. The Keating penalty in Waterford in 2022 after they had equalised at the death, the drive home that night was exhilarating because we knew we had seen a big player, in a big moment, in a big game, do big player things. I’m not sure if the possibility of moments like that exist next year. A last-minute penalty winner in Athlone in front of 200 travelling fans will never give you that feeling you got that night as 800 of you went mental. Where are the big games next season? Where are the big clubs? They are all in the Premier Division, while we exist in the unfertilised wilderness of the first division.
Next year, we will have worse fixtures, worse refs (if you can imagine that?), worse camera’s tracking bald linesmen instead of the actual football, worse pitches, worse stadiums, worse facilities, and a load of Kerry men who somehow now will believe they are our equal.
Danny Healy Rae doing TikTok’s welcoming us all to Tralee for the “Cork” match is not something to be welcomed, also can I just at this stage get a pre-emptive, “fuck off Danny” in, six months in advance.
This is what has killed me the most, the knowing, that I will know, for the next four months, what awaits us when the season kicks off. All the other clubs will look forward to playing us, its their cup final again, a chance to make a name for themselves against the big boy in the division, while I don’t look forward to playing any of them. For us as fans, I just can’t at this moment, see any redeeming feature that awaits us in the wilderness, there is no fixture I’m looking forward to, no ground I want to visit, no player I want to see and bar Shane Keegan and Hendo no manager I want to interview.
I’m presuming that at some stage I might actually look forward to the new season? Come January armed with season ticket in hand, one might actually at least ponder a season that should see lots of wins and points accumulated, but then we will announce a pre-season friendly with Premier Division side Waterford in Fermoy and all the pain and misery will return as we beat them 4-1 and think of what should have been.
If next season dosent turn into what we think it should be, then at least we know we will have Scotty to entertain us at lunchtime every Wednesday, with notable examples of how the club is disgracing itself in 2024.
I obviously haven’t moved passed the depression stage yet, and I’m doubting the anger stage will ever arrive. I think I’m maybe too old now to feel real anger towards a football club, but the disdain and apathy I feel at this moment for next season is very real and it shows no sign of ever passing.
When are the fixtures out? You ask.
Fucked if I care, I answer.