Great Expectations.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, an expectation is best described as,

“A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.”

We all have them; the expectation that our club will be successful. And not just once but continually successful. The unfortunate thing about expectations is that they turn us into the true meaning of a fanatic.

Why do we hold football clubs to such high expectations? Is it because of the money they spend or is it something more?

It is my expectation that the football club I hold close to my heart, Sunderland AFC, gains promotion to England’s EFL Championship via the automatic promotion places in League One. And although it will now require results of other matches in the league finish in Sunderland’s favour, it is still my expectation.

Manchester United supporters, (though not all of them), I would assume have an expectation that they’re team is winning titles, season after season. Such is the expectation when you have won the amount of titles the Red Devils have.

Breaking these expectations down from fan to fan, they’re not different. We are all after the same thing and that’s passion and success, depending on what success looks like for you. I have mentioned this previously but I find it hard to believe that any football exists to be mediocre. So is it really wrong that we expect some kind of success? Perhaps, during times of financial uncertainty, clubs focus purely on their own survival and not that of titles, but the uncertainty can’t last forever, (you would hope…).

No team is safe…

Take for instance, Rangers F.C. the most successful club in Scotland, have won the Scottish first division a record 54 times which is the highest of any club in Europe’s domestic leagues. Yet in 2012 the club met its demise. Poor management meant the club entered into the dreaded state of administration which inevitably led Rangers F.C. into liquidation in October 2012.

After experiencing success for such a prolonged period of time, the expectation of the fans is that miss management simply should not have happened. It would be comparable to the likes of Liverpool or Manchester United suffering similar circumstances. Or even Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Can you actually imagine this happening to your club? Forced to start life again from the depths of the football league, the feeling must be one of utter dismay. Would your expectations turn you into a vile or toxic fanatic?

Well known humanitarian, Rudy Rasmus, wrote in his book ‘Love. Period.’ that

‘Expectations are premeditated resentments.’

If Rasmus is correct, then our expectations we have of our football clubs are just setting us up for failure. And from my experience they’re not bloody wrong.

We cannot predict the future. All we can do is look at statistics and hope that our team wins. And when they do not live up to our expectations we need reminding that our expectations are not reality and that lashing out at our club for not meeting our high standards will do nothing to help the club achieve what you expect it to achieve.

The reality for me, and my beloved Sunderland, is that there is a high probability we will be in League One again next season. And as much as it infuriates me that this may well be the case, submitting to my expectations will only ensure that I resent the club when I should be giving them my support.

Do you have any expectations of your football club that differ from what I have mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below!

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