Everyone in the Championship beats the version of us that turned up at Hillsborough ... David Rawson's Rotherham United fan column for the Advertiser
Referee’s whistle goes, Wednesday have started playing and we’re stood still, engaged in making a gesture. It’s the right thing to do, but maybe not today. Maybe today we get cracking.
But we didn’t. And they did. That’s the story of the game. No need to watch it. In fact, better you don’t. It’ll only upset you.
Anyone can beat anyone in the Championship. It’s that sort of league. There’s not necessarily shame in losing.
Anyone, on their day, can hold out with a combination of grit, guts and luck and then nick a goal from nowhere. Look at us against Southampton.
The trouble is that everyone in the Championship beats the version of us that turned up at Hillsborough. Or didn’t turn up.
And that’s the version of us that appears in our away games. You can, of course, blame the manager. But these players are supposed to be experienced at this level.
Cafu has played for Forest against Derby, and scored. Morrison in Cardiff versus Swansea. Peltier likewise.
They’ve played in high-pressure fixtures, ones that carry real meaning to the fans. They know how to manage games, and manage occasions. So why didn’t they?
It wasn’t as if there was some wall of noise and fervour to compete against. It wasn’t as if they were blown away from the off.
They were just sloppy, then passive and pedestrian and, ultimately, not bothered enough to pull themselves together. You can’t expect them to care like we do. But we pay them enough to do more than go through the motions.
The manager, meanwhile. Hamstrung - how else to describe it? - by injuries and limited in what team he can field.
But having to abandon plan A half an hour in? Leaving a player obviously disconsolate, angry and hurt in the process? To achieve virtually no improvement?
If, under previous managers, we’d get frustrated that we’d aimlessly launch the ball into the box with no real attacking options in place, how much worse is it to endlessly pass the ball away from a crossing position for no obvious reason?
I get the need to be smarter, more composed on the ball. I get that what got us here won’t get us there.
But right now the only place we’re going is the third division. And yes, we were good second half against Coventry. And terrific for 60 minutes against Norwich.
But how long can we keep up the belief that they were the real us, and not the exceptions that prove the rule?