Podcast 153: Failure Has Its Own Rewards
Hip and up-to-date young chaps that we are, this week’s podcast takes us all the way back to the events of the 14th May 1983, at Maine Road, in Manchester. It’s the last day of the season in the First Division and, with Liverpool having won the title several weeks earlier, all eyes are on a straight shoot-out at the other end of the table. The maths of it all are very simple. Manchester City, playing at home in front of a febrile crowd of over 42,000 people, are playing Luton Town. They need a draw to stay up. Luton are one place below them in the table, but a win for them will lift them above City and relegate them instead.
This is a study of human behaviour under oppressively nervous conditions, and the ways in which they both do and don’t react tell us a lot about what happens when pressure hits a point near critical mass. It’s a story with a cast of characters, of unlikely heroes and a goalkeeping pioneer. And it’s also a tale that involves David Pleat running full pelt across the Maine Road pitch in a beige suit and brown patent leather shoes, looking for all the world as though he’s fighting off an invisible octopus. Oh, and forget what I said about Bolton Wanderers. I hadn’t, at the time, seen any press since the announcement that the take-over was imminent.
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