…..well, not really.
It’s been a hell of a 12 months for those of us who have remained “faithful” to the Phoenix. For some it’s just been the relentless slog of travelling back and forth to Deeside every weekend, for others, there has been abuse, and hostility heaped upon us from some of the less savoury corners of British hockey fandom. Now, here comes the warning for those sensitive souls who struggle when someone such as myself use the English language to its fullest extent:
PAST THIS POINT THERE WILL BE RUDE WORDS USED. IF THIS OFFENDS YOU, IT’S PROBABLY TIME TO GO AND READ SOMEONE ELSES BLOG.
OK, we all cool now? Everyone left understand that I’m going to use some “fruity” language (and as some would have it show my “lack of intelligence and education” in doing so… yeah, that hurts, I guess I’ll just have to cuddle my B.A. Hons degree a bit tighter when I go to bed tonight), and quite possibly make a few observations that won’t fly too well with some folks. Well, tough shit. My blog, my rules. So, onwards we go…
I think it is fair to say that in trying to put the clubs position across, and defend it’s actions (not all of which I have agreed with, but they were not my decisions to take) I have managed to piss a fairly significant percentage of the “great & good” involved in the British ice hockey online community. Especially on THF. And I’m unapologetic about this. I’m not going to dress stuff up, and go all verbose and try to polish a turd. If shit has to be said that some folks won’t like, then I will damn well say it. I can not be responsible for the fact that there are those out there who only want to have their own opinions and “facts” (a word I use very loosely indeed) verifying. And it isn’t easy when you are asked a question, get an answer, pass it on as requested, and get told that you are a “scumbag” and a “liar” for doing so. Frankly, if you knew you wouldn’t like the answer, why ask the question in the first place? I mean, really, it makes no sense whatsoever. I’ve taken far more personal abuse for passing on information unvarnished than was probably necessary (most infamously, I was informed on THF that I “sucked the sweat off Neil Morris’s balls”, and insult that took almost 6 hours to be removed after I reported it. Apparently we should “expect” to be treated like that on THF these days according to a message sent by the forums owner to another Phoenix fan). And sure, sometimes I let my passion for the club dictate my responses, and they have been somewhat confrontational. But you know what, when people are going to resort to personal abuse, then they will get given some shit right back at them. There have been times where I have wanted to say far more than I did, but I restrained myself, as frankly, I’d rather not waste my time insulting people who are just looking for any justification to attack myself and the club. Hell, this blog has been reported at least twice to the EIHA for “bringing the game into disrepute”. Yup, thats how sad some folks are. They tried to use my personal blog to harm the club, one complainant even asked the EIHA to ban the Phoenix from competing in the EPIHL over the content of this entry: “controversial rant!” Because heavens forbid someone has an opinion that doesn’t tally up with the “happy clappy” bullshit that surrounds the “hockey family” myth.
Speaking about that entry, I still stand by the sentiments within. I don’t understand anyone who walked away from the sport for almost a decade and a half just because the team wasn’t called “Storm”. Still sounds bloody stupid to me. (Interestingly, I’ve received quite a few messages from Storm fans who are noticing that much like supposedly happened at Phoenix, a “clique” is growing around the clubs management, and these “dedicated fans” seem to have far more say in what happens that the “ordinary” fan. And don’t get me started on their prices for next season. I’ve received more than a few messages about those too. But that’s a different blog altogether, and probably one I shouldn’t write… That’s down to a Storm fan to be brave enough to stick their head above the parapet). But I digress.
Beyond all that, on the ice it’s been tough. A short bench which seemingly was never at full strength worked miracles out there, helping to maintain the clubs proud tradition of always qualifying for the post season in every year we have iced. Without those guys on the ice, there wouldn’t be a reason for us to fight as hard as we have to keep the club alive, and for that I thank them most profusely indeed. they are all #phoenixlegends.
Off ice…. well, After the December “bombshell” regarding finances, and Red Hockey, The back half of the year certainly did become a whole different kettle of fish. The trolls were given extra ammunition to go on the attack with (a thread currently running to 103 pages and counting on THF attests to this), and the fans found their loyalties called into question in ever more callous and crass ways. But we fucking did it. I make no bones about feeling smug over this. Plenty of folks claimed that they “knew” as a “fact” that Neil was going to fold the club at Christmas and do a runner with everyones money (yup, someone publicly stated that), so the fact that we not only made the play offs, but also are well on the way to returning home in our temporary facility makes me feel more than just a bit like saying “fuck you” to all the haters. Which I just did! Cool. It feels good to have typed that.
If we as a group have proven one thing over the past 12 months, it is that the core of the Phoenix fanbase (whether they have been able to travel to every game or not at Deeside) are a loyal, committed bunch who take no shit from anyone. We are Phoenix, and we are unbreakable. I know I’ve pissed off a few of my fellow Faithful this year, and for that I do apologise. My passion for this club runs deeper than even I though possible, and there have been times when I’ve taken things far more personally than I should have, but without all you guys, I wouldn’t have a reason to keep on fighting for the club. You all rock.
And the volunteers… again, you guys are all #phoenixlegends. If not for the volunteer army, there wouldn’t be game to have watched each weekend. Neil owes each and every volunteer a drink or 2 come opening day at the new rink.
As for myself, I’m just disappointed that the stress this season affected my health. I should have never let it get that far (I lost the whole of January due to physical and mental health issues, exacerbated by stress). I’ve promised myself that I’ll never let this sport affect me like that again. I’m not 100% that I can kepe that promise, mind, but I’m going to damn well try.