Unbridled chaos in a minimal dose is a good thing, friends. Jumping out of a helicopter, high on all the good drugs is probably a fantastic experience. Riding a motorbike through hurricane winds is probably exhilarating. For all that structure gives us, or the illusion that it likely provides us, chaos is where the fun is at.
Take - for example - Aston Villa’s 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest. That’s five goals for either side, scattered about but ultimately heading in the same direction. In football, that’s absolute unbridled chaos. This should not happen. We are pissing in the wind and it is going everywhere. Jesus take the wheel. There was a red card. A good save. A calamity of errors. The game xG was kicked square in the bollocks. Five goals for each side. Ten goals in total. Villa scored seven shots. Two of those were ruled out. Nottingham scored twice in the first five minutes. By minute fifteen Villa had equalised. By minute 95, Villa fans were hanging in their seats in agony. Players lay broken on the pitch. How can we make any sense of that? What can be taken from that?
Someone smarter than me will give you the real answer to that question. Heck, Head Coach Dean Smith probably already has. I’m here to tell you that chaos is awesome and that the best way I can sum up the 5-5 draw with Forest is by watching a video of a dog chasing some deer across the park and into the road. You know the one.
The deer slumber in the morning dew. Cars trundle towards the sun on the road splitting the park. Trees stand solemnly from the foreground to the horizon. Light mumbling grazes the wind, which whips the words into the sky. All representative of a blissful walk on an English morning. The deers and stags take life away - but without violence. Their picture draws all worries away. It is peace.
Fenton! Fenton! FENTON! FENTONNN! FEN-TTOOOOON! FENNNN-TOOOOOONNNN!
The deers leap to their feet, their heads pivoting towards the commotion.
A mass of deers stampeded across the horizon. The sun blinds - but the mass can still be made out.
Oh, Jesus CHRIST!
The deers pick up speed and others add themselves to the pack. They sprint for safety and they sprint towards the road.
Impotent signalling echoes through the park. Clap Clap Clap Calp. The deers do not stop and nor does he.
The deers continue their rampage, and their pursuer is spotted. A small dog (Fenton).
And this is the best part. After his scream, the camera cuts out and the owner teleports like Nightcrawler into the frame. Aimlessly jogging - and best of all - holding a leash. He moans in agony and ambles in his run towards the cars on the road that are now stopping. The deers cross the road and sprint across the other side of the park and well, that’s it.
A small slice of chaos, just as delightful as the bliss it preceded. Yin and Yang. Night and Day. Equilibirum. Structure and order is safe and it is boring. Chaos is needed and it cannot be explained.
Do you get it now? There were 20 Fentons on that football pitch tonight. Each one of them chasing the ball as though it was a pack of deer. Each one, running into the wind with their tongues out for the sole reason of doing so. Joe Lolley was Fenton. Tammy Abraham was Fenton. James Chester was Fenton. Alan Hutton was definitely Fenton. Anwar El-Ghazi was peak Fenton. Conor Hourihane was Fenton. Lewis Grabban was Fenton. When that role was taken, the counter-part became the owner, impotently attempting to contain the energy. The owner could not contain the energy.
Structure is not fun. I may balls up in my job and the structure is there to stop that. I may earn less money and that is because of the structure. I cannot walk in a straight line home as there is structure. I cannot stay up all night because there is a structure I need to play my part in tomorrow morning. Structure is in football as well. Jose Mourinho will spend hours watching videos and dissecting gameplay to ensure the ball lands on Marouane Fellaini’s head in the 91st minute of a game after 90 minutes of aimless ball-jockeying in-front of the opposition. Games are usually won 1-0 and if not, they are tied at 1-1. One goal. One burst of ecstasy. We had five.
Structure presents us with routine. Chaos presents us with moments we’ll never forget. I will never forget that. Walking home in the moonlight, as the puddles conceived oil-paintings against the neonised lights, I tried to analyse this for you and this is what happened.
There is no controlling chaos. There is no analysing. I will leave that for someone smarter than myself.