Issue Where were you when the lights came on?

As told by Michael Wood

I love a good goal and Andrew Cooke’s 89th minute strike was certainly that.

Not the goal itself – although anyone man who hits a two yarder that hard is getting something out of his system – but the timing of it which was so apt coming as it did seconds after the words “We could play all day and never score” floated from forward right of me at Valley Parade.

Up to Cooke’s goal it was a traditional Saturday afternoon at the moaning and abuse factory and no one was spared the verbal barbs until the moment Windass rounded Tony Bullock and Cooke Ahabed it into the goal.

Then – and for a moment – the lights lit at Valley Parade in recognition for a player who has put in a few months of hard work with no reward. The uncorking of frustration sent a bolt of energy raising the support to it’s feet and for a moment everyone in Valley Parade – those from Kent excluded – experienced the same emotion.

And there was a real unity which I had forgotten the taste of.

If that moment could be distilled – could be bottled and brought out for a pre-game sup – then who knows what could happen on the field. For sure the atmosphere would improve at Valley Parade and we might get some of those needed thousands to avoid the third and final administration through the turnstiles.

The kids started up a round of appreciation for Cooke – “when he gets the ball he scores a goal” – and the moaners were silenced. Mr. “Never-score-if-we-played-all-day” immediately got onto his mobile to ring The Times to take out a full page advertisement apologising for his doom ladden and incorrect statements and committing himself to the power of positive thinking.

Perhaps not. One wonders what someone who dooms says for ninety minutes a week feels at such a moment? Do they crave validity so much they regret it’s happening? One wonders what if the erstwhile moaner feels excluded from the celebrations.

Of course they have the right – they love to tell us that they have the right – to say what they want and they will say it as loud as they like but the words can jam in their throats and they can be sure that those who kept the faith – a side in sixth place in the league has good reason to have faith – enjoyed Cooke’s goal a good deal more.

They have the right to say what they want but – when the lights come on as they did at 16:44 at Valley Parade – others have the right to thumb their noses in delight and so they did.