Come back Jimmy Dunne

Monday 25 March 2002

It is with deep regret that I have decided to call a temporary halt to my whingeing. For the first time in my life I am going to back the team 100% and give enthusiastic, positive vocal support until we pull ourselves out of this hideous slump. It will be an almighty challenge to give up carping, griping and moaning but I am left with no option. I ask all fellow lifelong whiners to join me and before you all start grumbling, ask yourself this question: 'Can I really go back to whingeing in the Nationwide?'

I've been preparing for years to incessantly bleat at the top level and I can't bear the thought of giving it up after just one miserable season. I want to look forward to many, many more miserable seasons in the top flight. The idea of wasting my tiresome tirades at grim grounds with few fans all over again is too much to bear. We have to maintain Premiership status and then we can all go into next season with renewed doom laden pessimism.

Already this season I've griped at Gascoigne, sneered at Shearer and vilified the entire Villa team. I simply can't give up these regular, high quality whingeing windows of opportunity. The Premiership truly is the Promised Land for anyone with any ambition. I also want to have a crack at Europe. I'm sure I could be a right pain in the neck from PSV to Porto.

Matters came to a head against Spurs when I passed out from whingeing at the gift of the second goal. When I regained consciousness I decided enough was enough. I listened to the shouts of encouragement from my ten-year old and tried to copy him. But somehow the words wouldn't form in my mouth. It felt so unnatural to knowingly praise anyone but I persevered and by the end of the match I had managed to mutter 'unlucky' a couple of times and even forced myself to clap at the end of a much improved second half performance. Nevertheless, I clearly have a lot to learn.

I'm embarking on a strict new 'positives only' training system in the back garden. Already I've managed to shout out loud 'Come on, we'll definitely get a goal from this corner!' and 'Go on! Take a few more touches! That's the way,' and even 'Nice pirouette!' I admit it's difficult but by the weekend I hope to be able to master the phrases 'It takes time to bed in,' and 'No games are easy at this level,' and 'There's no need to press the panic button yet.' It will take every ounce of will power but if it keeps us up it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

I will keep you informed of my progress but rest assured that as soon as we are mathematically safe I will let forth the most unpleasant whinge I can muster and resume normal service. I only hope it comes sooner rather than later. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I've just agreed with my ten-year old that 'sometimes your name is on the cup.' This can't be healthy for me.

Happy moaning, er...supporting I mean...

TERRY SPRATT