A philosophical point this morning. At the end of last season I had a twitter discussion with @TheSquidBoyLike, who was of the opinion that some goals and some events at the climax of the season are more important than others earlier on. No they’re not, I said. Yes they are, he said. No they’re not, I said. Yes they are, he said. It’s not always easy to get into the finer details of an argument in 140 characters.
But every goal and every point are as important as every other point and goal. We didn’t get third place just on the last day of the season. We didn’t get third place because the West Brom keeper was our man of the match on the last day, making Almunia look like Gordon Banks. We didn’t get third place because Gibbs made a saving tackle at the end of the West Brom game that (potentially) prevented a goal. No, we got third place because of the cumulative effect of every result of every match over the 38 game season – and within those results, the cumulative effect of every goal, every pass and every tackle. (Disappointing as it is to think about it this way, we also didn’t win the League in ’89 purely because of Michael Thomas, or the Double in ’71 because of Charlie George.)
All right, there is a caveat to every point being as valuable as every other point, because before the season finishes you may end up with a points difference between you and the clubs above and/or below that’s greater than the number left to win. And every goal is only as valuable as every other goal until your goal difference is so far from your rivals that there’s no chance of that affecting positions.
But we didn’t reach either of those points last season, so every goal and every point were equally important. Events at some points in a chain, usually at the end (ie the most recent), look more important, but this is an illusion. It’s all a matter of where you happen to be viewing them from. If the chain is broken anywhere the effect is the same, and if any event in a football season is different then the chain of events may be broken. If you get into the Champions League by one point, then all the points won in the season are equally vital. We don’t know what will happen between now and next May, stuck as we are at the current point on the spacetime continuum. We can’t guarantee that we will win every match and have been crowned champions by March, however much we may believe it.
And all that is why we must win today in the opening match of the season against Sunderland, and why @TheSquidBoyLike is bricking it about whether we will.
Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5
ps – don’t bother telling me that I don’t understand physics, because finding the part of me that cares about that will make finding the Higgs-Boson seem like spotting an elephant in a phone box.