The murmurs and groans became progressively more audible throughout the first 83 minutes. But in the end, the noise had turned into a harmonic chorus. They were chanting Scott Parker’s name.
Football is a fragile existence and the life of a manager is indicative of that. Midway through the first half, Parker turned to the crowd and asked for patience. Maybe intrinsically he knew that breaking through a wall of greenery would take time. Maybe not as late as the late show that followed, though.
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“Does the game show how fragile the championship is?” DorsetLive Parker asked in one of two joint questions. “There are moans and frustration and then, within minutes, they’re chanting your name?”
The Cherries boss smiled.
“That’s the world we’re in, in football. I understand the frustrations in the stadium. I understand that. Look, I’m more desperate than anyone for us to get promoted this year. I get the stadium. We’ we’re all desperate, we’re all driving and we’re all trying to do everything we can to be successful this year.
“So I understand that. It’s partly my job and it’s also the player’s job to generate that from the stadium. You know I don’t mind that.”
Bournemouth had risen from rudderless air and caught between two rocks to endure the sight of Mark Travers running 60 yards from his objective to hug anyone who opened his arms. Parker’s coaching staff ran onto the court as Jamal Lowe pulled up his top to reveal, in white letters, the name of his third son, Ziggy.
By the end, stardust had been sprinkled all over Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth are now two points clear of third place with four games behind Huddersfield. While Saturday afternoon should offer the coldest reminder of the fine line between imperfection and perfection, getting a promotion is getting closer.
There is a shared desperation between players, coaches and supporters to achieve this goal. It can have a resounding influence, one way or the other. After scoring a goal, the nerves in the stands invaded the pitch. The team often look and act in contradiction, where they seem bereft of confidence, only to then invoke a game-defining surge of momentum and witticisms captured from a historic minus 17 Dean Court bottle.
Parker, having experienced all the swings you could hope to endure in a season now, knows that.
“My players need to understand that we can’t let this affect us,” added the Cherries boss. “So whether it’s nervousness in the stadium because we’re not putting the ball in the box, or not shooting when we should have. We have to have constant faith in what we’re doing.
“We come to work every morning, we work tirelessly. We work on things, we work on what we want to be. We have to stick with this because it’s the best way. While saying that, of course, it is constant that this stadium will make the difference, that’s for sure.
“I played here. The second half, the crowd literally cheered the ball into the back of the net at times. The players are gaining confidence and believing. A desperation for us to win and do well.”
Whisper it softly, but it seems like a desperation that demands more. And ultimately guide those expectations to the Premier League.
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