Fans of Scott Parker have made a big deal out of the fact that without him, "We would have been relegated by Christmas". My response, every time, has been to point out that we were relegated in May anyway - finishing rock bottom - so what was gained out of hiding the inevitable in December? The argument of the Parker acolytes falls down anyway when you remember that we were relegated at Christmas - sitting bottom of the table as we went into the Festive Period; and only one club bottom at Christmas has EVER escaped relegation from the Premiership.
What did delaying the inevitable achieve? Well it cost the club a fortune as we recruited Ba and Bridge on a combined salary of £150,000 a week for 5 months. That's £3,000,000 down the pan, before you take into account fees paid to their clubs. It's probably a net £5,000,000 actually. Then there was the decision to retain Parker. Had we cashed in on him in January, we may have secured £8million. I would be amazed if we get £5million now. That's another three to five million chucked down the toilet.
Then, of course, there was the failure to start the rebuild earlier. Players like Jordan Spence could have been properly blooded and Hines and Sears tested to the full, had we accepted we were down and started planning for next season. But like the mythical ostrich, we buried our head in the sand. Why?
Because that's what you do. You don't give up, not even when all logical hope is gone. You keep hope. You fight. You achieve dignity by facing into adversity and toughing it out. Which brings me to Terry Pratchett. I watched that programme last night. Well, I watched most of it. I couldn't watch the "climax" when a man completely sound of mind took his life in front of the watching millions because to say "No" at the last moment would have been humiliating.
The programme was an utter disgrace. I am not taking a position here on dignity in death - when somebody is in the final throws of agony it is absurd not to offer them mercy - but this Dignitas organisation is a factory of death, an Auschwitz under a different name, operating in the name of profit. Listening to the clipped Germanic accent of the woman who decides on who should live and who should die brought the names of Eichmann, Himmler and Mengele to mind. I felt huge compassion for the two condemned men at the centre of the programme and utter repugnance for Pratchett, a voyeuristic angel of death seeking personal solace at the expense of others. His assistant who voiced the opinion that this was "wrong" said it all.
I am not an emotional person but I was close to tears as I heard the dying man ask for water. There was a terrible resonance of the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, with Pratchett taking the role of the Mariner, bringing this terrible tale into our homes.
I witnessed no dignity, I witnessed life ending unnecessarily early, life surrendered for fear of being a burden on others. Where was the love? It was utterly absent. To hear a man on the point of self extermination tell his wife to "Be brave" said it all. He killed himself for her, not for himself, and from what I could see, she was happy to hold his hand and lead him to this C21st version of the Nazi gas chamber. As he snored his way into death, oblivious now of the audience who had pressured him into death, I wondered at the value of his estate and how his wife would now be living her life.
Dying a slow death isn't pleasant but it has to be better than people feeling pressured into an early exit. Of course we were down at Christmas but who wants to embrace death in the festive season? To witness this poor man kill himself as a Christmas present to his wife was truly horrific.
I suggest Dignitas design a new logo, reading "arbeit macht frei".