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By Martin Bretts
scha·den·freu·de (German)
n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

I admit, I don't know many other supporters. I don't even have much of a conversation with those seated around me in the East Stand. It's only by reading the BSaD site that I think I know how other supporters are feeling. By and large, I've sympathised with most of the contributors' views and sentiments, even though I don't always agree with their opinion on the relative merits and demerits (no pun intended) of various players.

However, I can't help feeling that there are a lot of people who'd be happier if this season was a continuation of last; who'd be happier if they could stare accusingly at the directors' box as another depressing draw or loss came to an end; who'd be happier if they could mutter 'I told you so' as they walked away from Vicarage Road.

I've dug out some old programmes (yes, I keep some of them, so?). After five matches of last season, we were in tenth position with nine points and had scored eight goals. In 2003, after eight matches, we were in twenty-third position with four points and eight goals. This season (and this is written before last night's game with Norwich), after games games we've got fourteen points. We've scored eleven goals. We're in third place!

I'm not saying that I'm happy with everything that's happened. Ray Lewington and Nigel Gibbs are decent men and they were both treated badly by the club. The board's attitude towards supporters has been both patronising and, at times, deceitful. I'm still mystified by some of the transfers both in and out. I'm also realistic enough to know that there is a fragility about our squad that one or two injuries could easily reveal.

However, I can't remember when I last looked forward to each match so much. It's a very nice feeling to know that we are, at last, capable of scoring goals and winning games. I'm not going to use clichés like 'let's move on' or 'let's get behind the team' but can't we just accept the fact there have been changes? We may not agree with all of them but there's no denying that the football's better than it used to be!

Schadenfreude. Trust the Germans to have a word for it!