Last week I gazed at a photo of Nuno and I swear I could feel my hair become thicker and a wind blew from somewhere and my hair was blowing back, I was like Robert Plant now and my locks were waving around. Nuno you Prophet, you Magician, your strong hand on the tiller observing the skies for bad weather, steering us to calmer more lucrative waters, barking orders, shaping events to your will.
What the fuck is going on? What is this particular experience? Derby choking at home to the footballing equivalent of a stranglefuck. Loud words I know but how else can one describe that show? The fluidity of passing and the sublime one touch here and there a cascade of sensuous passion, hair blowing in the wind football. Back in the day of course the whole ethos of Wolves style of play was always width, stretching the play out, attacking full backs. The pomp and circumstance of English football was Wolves in the 1950s, those monochrome warriors Flowers, Cullis, Billy Wright. So Doherty and Douglas these colossi of men, these gentlemen of the corner bits have risen to the task admirably dare I say like a Pig eatin’ a tayta. Woe betide any lollipop that dares to stand in the way of either of them as they ply their trade. Opposition players flung here and there as wet wipes on a layby on the A5. At the end of the season there will be two trenches either side of the pitch where they relentlessly advance the cause. It will be four foot deep. Douglas is the proverbial fucking bargain buy isn’t he? He’s a bit of a dark horse. Career locations like a Serbian people trafficker. Where you lived? Fucking hell. Cheap tho’. Both of them are the older brothers who stare at you when you call for their Sister. The way they stare at you makes your balls shrink a little.
But overall we are within our rights to say that this spontaneous creative football is expressed and in the scheme of things must be expressed. The ease in which this team plays football is endemic of the fact that we aren’t playing our football as ‘hard’ as we did. The football has become easier and more fluid because we aren’t thinking about it as hard. Contrast Dave Edwards relentless pursuit of the ball across the pitch compared to the effortless positioning of Neves. There has become an essence of enjoyment and competition between team mates but not the competition to define the individual skill amongst his peers but the competition to see who may effortlessly mesh and integrate with the team as a whole? Last season the team (at times) was laboured and paranoid. This season of course they are fascinating and dynamic. Bright Enkobahare splashing huge swathes of colour across the pitch as he clicks into every available space is a joy, a pure passionate beauty. Nuno has unleashed him for now and he is like a pit pony released into a pasture after a life in the mine. He flicks his mane here and there, explores the green of the pitch and it becomes less a battleground and more like a canvas for the way he personally sees his world.
But how nice was it to see Derby given a solid kicking at home? Have we not tasted the bitter fruits of this tie in the past? The multiple dickings from a team that seemed to click when playing us? I sat at home packing my rucksack listening to the radio and the game, catching little bits here and there on social media. Smiling, and perhaps gloating a little too and I feel like getting a little bit drunk and maybe thinking about the team as ours apart from ‘theirs’. Think about Sir Jack on the bus smiling his tits off after we won promotion, the Waterloo road rammed with a sea of Gold and Black. The positive things and the happy moments when the windows of the shops up town didn’t seem as grimy and the pavements not as care worn. These little thoughts creep in after a few wins, after a little bit of ‘win love’ and I’m going to enjoy them. I know it’s a long road ahead and I know the vultures and the player pickers will be circling over the team to cherry pick our best players. There will be fume aplenty, some anger probably. Hope rises like a dawn hard on and can flicker out just as fast.
But we know what’s going on there on the pitch and we can wax lyrical over the wheres and whys all day. There are better men and women more qualified than me who can do it. Where one match can be Melissa Multipack can one be Wendy Waitrose? Can this Derby match be that? Nuno of course walks to the podium and grips the sides of it and looks at us with the eyes of a man who has held the gaze of God. And may we say God in it’s infinite abstract form has looked upon Nuno and our City with something akin to understanding? Even though the simple green shoots of the positive ethos Nuno has brought are still peeking above the dark fertile soil of Derby and Hull they are strong. Look at Nunos hands. They are strong and broad, a craftsmans hands, one who will find as much pleasure in manual labour as the construction of the ‘Great Project’.
Now with the platform provided by the Fosun global business ethos and the vast ‘friends’ list of Mendes I sit watching the posts on social media expound love and positivity as the away matches click on relentlessly, post after post Bright Enkobahare, Coady, Neves, Cavaleiro, Jota, Saiss and Dicko. I watch the Neves goal against Hull over and over again and it takes on the magic and beauty of the Kennedy assasination, The Zapruder film. Neves pulls his foot back and to the left. Smash, no multiple shooters just him coaxing the ball to find it’s path into the net. Rewind watch it again, watch the other players watch the ball float, spin, into the net, watch the goalkeeper flap. Rewind, take a sip of tea, watch the Hull team deflate. They knew that the Kwan was flowing across the pitch in an ever strengthening storm. They knew they were the bystanders on the grassy knoll destined to become witnesses as opposed to participants. The ten minutes added on was a mere post mortem to the rest of the match.
How maligned Dicko has been. Search for a striker here and there, names mentioned. We forget that we have a striker already. A leaner and fitter Dicko that looks a million miles away from the sensitivity of last season, the endless balls over his head, the fruitless lost loves scattered in front of him as another ball is spunked onto the moon head of the crisp munching byline. Nouha I never ever doubted you man. My footballing head as simple and bullet shaped as it is can’t comprehend the complexities of the modern game but ever since you joined us my heart has always beaten with your presence which I deemed right and just. My soul I think understands your football better than my brain. Nouha you showed bravery and honour last season and even though you are a little dude you stand as a giant among your team mates.
As I write this we have just performed a smash and grab on Hull. 2-3 to us and the excitement of a brilliant away win is a thing, a concrete feeling that maybe the Universe has looked at it’s ‘to do’ list and seen that we are well overdue a little glitter and pomp. It’s a crazy dream isn’t it? A demented hope that after all these years the team is channeling the hopes of the crowds, the fans, the great mass at the pitch edge. The zeitgeist is less a great hallucination or dream and is becoming a steam roller of intent and passion, the feeling that everything is in position to storm the plastic facades and frenzy of the Premier League. Now that freakazoid tight shirt mafia on Match Of The Day will soon have to discuss the golden juggernaut that’s going to smash their cosy fucking chats to shit. I can see it, I feel it in my bones, I hear it as I walk around the streets. I can see Gary Lineker choking as he is forced to discuss my team, my City and my players. I hope we don’t easily slip into the upper echelons of the Premier elite like we belong there, I hope we boot the fucking door down and put some noses out of joint immediately and we define ourselves not by how the Premier league has affected us but by how we have affected it.
Whatever….Cardiff next. Stack them up Nuno and knock them the fuck down.