The words of Alex Ferguson after the fateful (for Liverpool fans) 1999 European Cup final were ringing in my ears last night as Waterford United contrived to throw away a two goal lead midway through the second half and lose 4-2 to Monaghan United, effectively ending any pretensions to finishing top of the division. With Derry drawing last night, the Blues would have been only two points off the top. Now the best case scenario is beating Shelbourne away in the final game, thus leapfrogging them into third and getting into the playoffs, which would be against Monaghan or Derry away. Some ‘best case’.
The demoralising thing about the manner in which the Blues’ season has unfolded is that Monaghan’s year is a mirror image of Waterford 2009 campaign: bobbing around in the top three, having a good FAI Cup run and losing the League Cup final. A mirror image, that is, right up to the denouement of the league season, because while Monaghan are powering away into the top two and probably winning the division outright, Waterford are falling apart just like they did last season. While it’s dispiriting that Monaghan United (Est. 1979) are running rings around the venerable old Blues, one should learn to accept that Waterford United long-running woes have meant we are no more entitled to Rodney Dangerfield-style respect than Monaghan are – Waterford United might was well have been est-ed in 2010 for all the attention I’ve given them. But what is going on that the current generation of Waterford United players seem to implode when going gets tough? I have no insight into whether Stephen Henderson is capable of providing an answer to that question. But we’re going nowhere if it isn’t.