David Hannant: This season is not a drama after all - it’s an exquisite dark comedy

PUBLISHED: 12:16 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 23 April 2019

Ashley Williams celebrates after scoring Stoke's first goal Picture: PA

Ashley Williams celebrates after scoring Stoke's first goal Picture: PA

PA Wire

A few weeks ago, my fellow columnist, commentator extraordinaire Chris Goreham, suggested this Championship season is the next bingeable drama series.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa - has it all gone a bit wrong? 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdLeeds manager Marcelo Bielsa - has it all gone a bit wrong? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

At the time, I struggled to agree more – he was spot on.

However, I'm actually starting to believe that it is perhaps a different genre altogether – and one of my favourites to boot.

For me, there are few more entertaining genres than a good old dark comedy.

By dark comedy, I don't mean something that is funny but has all the lights switched off. Nor do I mean a comedy which solely takes place in the middle of the night.

Dark comedy is a terrific genre, if not a slightly acquired taste.

It draws the comedy out of situations of misery, so, quite understandably, is divisive.

More often than not there are scenes of great drama, twists and turns in this genre too, but with an underlying sense of the kind of humour some might describe as being wicked.

In Bruges is an outstanding example of this – do give it a watch if you are yet to do so.

So where to start with the way this particular Championship season reflects a dark comedy?

Well, let's start with the sheer hilarious cruelty it has inflicted on our old enemy, Ipswich Town.

For the past 17 years they have been desperately striving to get out of the Championship.

Not only have they finally achieved this goal, they have done so by slipping through the trap door into League One.

Now, add to this the fact that at the helm is the man that guided us, Norwich City, to some of our finest hours. Brutal, but hilarious.

But the comedy does not end there. For, if Town are to have one last hurrah before drifting off into League One, it will more or less guarantee our promotion.

I may have said in a previous column I would like to meet Ipswich again somewhere down the line – it doesn't mean I'm not finding their fate amusing.

And then there's the fable of Leeds United.

Equipped with the most fashionable of managers, the stirring of the sleeping giant was a story every national pundit was seemingly frothing at the mouth for. Finally, they were back.

They may still manage it, but their downturn in recent weeks has also been remarkably funny.

The whole Spygate saga was every bit a dark comedy.

The way the Bond-villain-like Bielsa so brazenly justified his exactions, explaining in explicit detail every facet of his scheme, was comedy gold. His inspired Power Point presentation could very easily have been taken straight out of the brilliantly dark It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Which brings us to Norwich City ourselves - the protagonists in this story, I'd like to think.

So what in our season could be seen to be dark comedy?

Well, up until a few weeks, not a great deal really. If anything, it's been more Rocky II (or one of the other ones where he wins) than Rocky Horror.

But in recent weeks, there have been countless cases of cruel justice than can only be dished out by the darkest of comedies.

Take Wednesday on Friday, for example. Only in a truly absurd work of fiction could a goal like Steven Fletcher's have stood.

Never before have I seen a goal with so many reasons to disallow it stand unopposed.

First off, it was about a yard offside. Then Fletcher lunged in on the waning Tim Krul. And that's before you even get to the clear and obvious handball.

And if that isn't bad enough, Ashley Williams' equaliser for Stoke yesterday, went in off his shoulder. By the letter of the law, a shoulder is a hand. So, same trick again from the morbid tinker who is writing the script for the 2018-19 Championship season.

So sure, there has been plenty of drama in the campaign, but there's also been a great deal of comedy in there as well – and I'm not just discussing Onel at Argos.

And then, of course, there is the other party in the comedy – those of us who are bringing you coverage of the run-in.

I'm fortunate enough that I don't have all that much involvement in the planning process, but some of my colleagues, managers and fellow media types are not so lucky.

Obviously when City are promoted, for at least a few days it will be no doubt be the biggest news story in the county.

Surprisingly, the reams of content you will get after it happens will not just appear.

From just chatting with EDP sport editor Chris Lakey I know just how many plans have been drafted, ripped up and started again in the past few weeks, never knowing exactly when the deed will be done.

And that, dear readers, is the cruellest joke of all.

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