Armchair Reporter: Class of '92 teaches us the value of hard work
IF the Class of 92: Still Out Of Their League on BBC1 teaches us anything it's the value of hard work.
Joint managers Anthony 'Jonno' Johnson and Bernard Morley constantly drummed that in players of Salford City FC. However, following weeks and weeks of preparation and pushing themselves to the limit,
Bernard's boys just couldn’t pull it off in the end – their surprise group dance at Bernard's wedding was a bit of a disaster. All that jiggling and pointing hardly warranted the enlisting of a hyperactive dance teacher to haul the lads right out their comfort zones.
The wedding was, however, the epilogue to absorbing, dramatic, occasionally comedic and gripping denouement of the current series.
The programme opened in familiar fashion – Jonno and Bernard barking at the players who bowed heads suggested it wasn't all going to script.
The dreams of a second successive promotion were slipping away, star striker/model Gareth 'Gaz' Seddon was suffering a crisis of confidence and all the modelling he was doing was a line of bench jackets and tracksuit tops and the Nevilles had buggered off to Valencia.
Still at least some BBC camera man got to swap the grim, industrial landscape for the Spain's south east coast.
Things weren't going well so what better way to take Bernard's mind of it than take him to a pub and let him sit and watch football.
At least that's the way Bernard saw it.
His fiancee Jemma's attempt to engage him in wedding talk over hor d'oeuvres of goats cheese and bruschetta failed as he just can't resist turning round for more than a sly glance at the footy on the telly.
Meanwhile, Gaz's attempts at turning his fortunes around saw him enlist the help of a 'mind coach' who urged him to visualise himself stepping off the bench and kicking a ball (representing of his negative thoughts) through the sun.
There was more much chance of that happening as Bernard or 'Jonno' telling him to get togged out.
Surely it couldn’t all peter out like this? Well, they weren't going to top the league but going up through the play-offs was still a possibility.
The results started to improve, the music got more upbeat and Gary and Phil had got their marching orders from the Mestalla (at least they tried something out of their comfort zone mused Gaz as he sipped on a latte) to lean on a fence and lend their support.
It was as if the whole thing had been scripted (how else do you explain the fact that both their play-off game were at home).
An inspired Seddon sprung off the bench to fire the ball into the top corner in extra-time in the play-off semi-final and then everyone was put through the mill in the final. Salford went behind a couple of times,
Jemma was worried it would overshadow the wedding - "Why does this always happen to me?" – and things all went slo-mo. Salford clawed their way back and grabbed a winner.
Of course, the biggest nugget of wisdom in the whole episode didn’t come from one of the Class of 92, or Bernard or Jonno or indeed Gaz's mind coach – but defender Steven Howson's girlfriend.
When Steve was explaining how, towards the end of the season, they had something to play for in every game, she replied: "You should always have something to play for. Then you wouldn't have to panic at the end of the season."
Yeah, but there'd be no drama in that, would there?