"Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises"
Will of Stratford (Warks. not E11) usually hit the mark but he showed exceptional prescience in anticipating the autumn of 2019 over 400 years ago. If only he had been acquainted with but two of the flurry of twenty-first-century acronyms - VAR and WTO – he might well have been able to better identify the origins of those 'noises'.
The first has hubbubbed its way across the isle to excite the passions as animatedly as was once reserved for Mario Vrancic’s free kicks or Teemu Pukki’s toe-pokes, but it has done little to resolve confusion as powers unseen dictate the plot.
Equally, the second has excited the strange passions of the Honourable Member for Rayleigh & Wickford and his bizarre accomplices to the extent that any sense of reality has long since disappeared... 'WTO' they incant... 'DUP'... 'JRM'
But back to the boy Will who, amidst the tempest, again showed an acute ability to grasp the nettle: 'Now that I believe that there are unicorns'. Of course, you were right Will, on an isle of fantasy the 'noises' can confuse and those of addled brain really can believe in the unicorns on the pathway to monumental self-harm – or, to be more accurate, others-harm as it is difficult to imagine that denizens of the ERG (sorry, Will, that one’s a bit after your time as well) and assorted loons will suffer undue discomfort from 'crash-out'. Indeed, some may well have shorted the pound on the currency markets to considerable personal advantage.
It is, of course, more debatable whether the aim of long-term Premier League membership is a true unicorn or merely 'such stuff as dreams are made of'. In truth, it’s almost certainly both. Just check out supporters of Charlton Athletic who sought to 'reach the next level'... or Portsmouth... or Stoke City. On the other hand, for followers of Leeds United (remember them?), Nottingham Forest or Sheffield Wednesday, 'dreams' continue to flicker seductively from time to time before the inevitable awakening.
But does our uncertain start mean that 'our revels are now ended'? Far from it: there are 28 games to go, Herr Farke has yet to be deported alongside Herren Stiepermann, Zimmermann and sundry other Männer. Senores Buendia and Hernandez continue to buzz while Herra Pukki and Monsieur Amadou are only warming up.
Nil desperandum; the isle can be full of different noises. Let’s hear it for OTBC and a PV.