Fleet Life with Ed Miller: It's time to find that Churchillian spirit as we enter the final battle
PUBLISHED: 12:18 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 23 August 2010
IF Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons. So said Winston Churchill in 1941 in backing his Communist arch-enemy Stalin against the Nazis. Many Fleet fans will likely understand where Ch
IF Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."
So said Winston Churchill in 1941 in backing his Communist arch-enemy Stalin against the Nazis.
Many Fleet fans will likely understand where Churchill was coming from as, on Tuesday night, we settled down with our hastily-fabricated Stevenage Borough hats and scarves, in the curious position of having to cheer on Graham Westley's demons to victory through gritted teeth, hoping prodigal son Andy Drury and cavern-mouthed comedy reserve goalkeeper Ashley Bayes could come good and do the business for the Fleet.
And our favourite soon-to-be-ex-Conference villains did us proud, their win allowing the Fleet what must be an unlikely fifth or sixth bite at the cherry as we take the relegation express to the final day of the season.
It certainly tweaked at my conscience as I raised an arm into the air in celebration on the occasion of Stevenage scoring a goal. But, to rid myself of the memory and bad taste in my mouth, I flagellated myself to a state of near unconsciousness on the final whistle and now feel no guilt for my actions.
Boro have however at least paved the way for what is a massive game for the club at Tamworth: let's forget the ownership issues, financial problems, uncertain futures, the fact we might have to do it all again next year - this is the one moment when, probably for the first time since our Wembley win two years ago, we have to be united, in one voice, ready to take over the stadium and make it our own. We are always in good voice at away matches, huddled on the same terrace and even more so when we have something to sing about.
To pull off an escape at this late stage would be one of the Fleet's greatest-ever achievements and, while the permutations of other results going our way are a distraction, all that matters while our boys are on the field is our own victory.
Get that under our belts first and then hope Oxford and AFC Wimbledon have done the decent thing and crushed our rivals. Though I've privately written off our chances three or four times already, anything's possible at this juncture.
If Liam Daish's boyhood heroes Portsmouth can make the FA Cup final given their woes this term, then we can complete a fairytale double for the Fleet boss. Somehow, the Churchill reference above seems appropriate for the Fleet.
And, seeing as how we're going all Dunkirk Spirit in the wake of the volcanic ash crisis, allow me - if you will - to capture the moment and paraphrase the great man himself:
"We shall defend our goal, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the benches, we shall fight on the penalty spot, we shall fight in midfield and in defence, we shall fight in the air; we shall never surrender."
And to further paraphrase, this is the beginning of the end of our campaign. Let's make it our finest hour...