Monday, 16 December 2013

Chipping Away

Queens Park Rangers 3 Bournemouth 0

Queens Park Rangers 0 Blackburn 0

Blackpool 0 Queens Park Rangers 2

It feels like a lot has happened in two weeks. Following what was an an extremely disappointing performance at Doncaster Harry appeared to have heeded some advice and tinker a little with formation and tactics. We've also seen Carroll come back from injury, Phillips score us fantastic goal, a match with more than a two-goal lead, and Austin to continue to work hard for us up front and score us goals.

Many of us are saying it still doesn't feel as if we've left first gear. It is true, it feels as if, for all the pedigree we have, we're still lucky to win some matches. The football isn't always pretty either. But who are we kidding? No one ever said Championship football was pretty - in fact every time the lads try something fancy it tends to backfire and be overly complicated. And yet here we are, sitting at the top of the table.

The older I get the more convinced I am that in order to achieve your goal one must be consistently hard working. And by consistent I mean that dogged determination to keep plugging away and trying even when the chips are down and by whatever means required. And I suppose that's the way I see it in our struggle to do better as a club than we did last season. I hesitate to say 'our struggle to regain Premier League status' because the thought does still with me with fear as I remember the trauma of last year. But I have an ever increasing faith that our club is doing the right thing and building a real team of dedicated players.

The last few weeks also saw Tom Daley tell us he has a boyfriend. Personally I think it's an amazingly brave thing to do for such a young boy. I know so many people who are much older than Tom and they haven't the courage to tell their own family...never mind coming out to the wider public of colleagues and friends. I cannot imagine what a painful internal struggle it must be to hide who you are from people that you love or from the public if you live your life in the limelight. What I have found amusing in the past year as fans and footballers have debated the subject is that men tend to say something like 'Well, I don't care what they do in bed, doesn't matter to me - so why bother announcing it?' That's their way of saying they aren't prejudiced in their views but at the same time they sweep under the carpet a world which they do not wish to know about or understand. And I say to them, how would you like it if you could never tell anyone about your wife and how happy you are with her? It isn't just about sex but about identity, friendship and family.

I still think we are a long way from changing some of these attitudes in the football world but there are lots of little things happening that seem to be slowly turning the tide. Numerous pieces have been written in the press and in both football and non-football related blogs. An article by Matt Dickenson in the Times suggested that Daley's act could 'inspire the end of football's last taboo'. There was also the controversial Rainbow laces campaign and the Football vs Homophobia campaign...But most recently I stumbled upon a twitter account @GayFootballerUK. @GayFootballerUK is an anonymous account apparently belonging to a 'Secret Bisexual Premier League Footballer. He has 362 followers only but the Huffington Post has also picked up on his account. He only started the account in late November this year and he has been greeted by Simon Thomas of Sky Sports News warmly whilst others have been intrigued by the cryptic clues about his upcoming matches, and any injuries he has.

Intriguing it is. I did wonder whether the account was a wind-up. But even for the most idiotic it wouldn't be funny. And if it were a wind-up one would imagine he would be doing everything he can to gain plenty of new followers, which clearly he is not. My hope is that it is genuine and that he gets as much support as possible whatever he decides to do. Perhaps if he has enough support anonymously it will make him the first Premier League footballer to ever come out whilst still actively playing.

For some, it's not news, no. But for others the issue is still a matter of life or death. This, along with all the other stories, is the world chipping away consistently at the issue. While I am sceptical about a Premier League footballer coming out any time soon, I am convinced that if it does happen, the world will be a better place for it.

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