Date:Tuesday May 29 2007
This is my first article since what I shall hitherto refer to as 'the debacle' as I have been quite frankly unable to face discussion about football of any kind since 'it' happened. It hurts like hell; especially for someone of my age who has never had the privilege of seeing us in a final of any description in and to be robbed of that opportunity in such a heartbreakingly cruel fashion was absolutely devastating and heartbreaking in equal measure, but circumstances (ie impending A level examinations) have meant that i have not had time to dwell on it.
Moving forward 9 days we see Yeovil getting soundly beaten (I couldn't bring myself to watch any of the play off finals however) which, to be honest, I found quite upsetting again. I personally harboured no ill feeling towards Yeovil (I instead held it against our own useless, overpaid, bar stewards). They were nothing short of superb during 'the debacle'. I for one wish them nothing but the best and was among the first to clap them off of the pitch at the end of the game. I really believed that the football they played that night deserved better, but i look forward to meeting them again next season.
To bank holiday Monday. I had a terrible feeling that our good friends from the dark side of the A52 would win this and I must say, playing devils advocate, over the course of the year it is hard to argue that they didn`t deserve promotion. I managed to book myself a shift at work to (accidentally of course) ensure that I was otherwise engaged at 3:00 yesterday afternoon, and unfortunately my fears were proved to be well founded.
So to really rub salt into the gapping wounds of what is the most bitter disappointment I think I can say I've felt in my life (worse than Sheffield United because we at least put in a performance that night), our most hated rivals will be plying their trade an earth shuddering 2 leagues above us for the foreseeable future. And that hurts. To put things into perspective, we are as close to Burton Albion in the league stakes at this point in time than d*rby County.
If this however is not painful enough, we must take into account our own predicament for the foreseeable future. Next season, we will, in all likelihood have a team comprising of cast offs from teams such as Stoke and Plymouth (and teams of similar stature, with no disrespect to those teams; well, not Plymouth anyway) and youth team players rushed in (most of them presumably before they are ready to make the step up) to cover the gapping holes left by this summers inevitable exodus, which will mean that we will in my opinion be very fortunate to as much as make the play offs next season (I see a season of mid table obscurity ahead of us personally.)
I know of many, many people who will not be renewing their season tickets next year with average crowds hovering around the 15-16k mark. We may achieve something pushing 22-23k for the odd kids for a quid game, but on the whole the city ground (which itself is beginning to look somewhat tired) will be 1/2 full I would expect for the upcoming season (with the possible exception of Leeds at home).
Financially I expect Mr Doughty (who I personally hold no particular resentment towards considering he has done more or less everything in his power as far as i can see to get us out of the is mess) to pour less and less money into the club as we watch the football club that we all love gradually rot and decay.
I'm forest till i die of course; my blind devotion will never waver, despite not personally being able to attend as many matches next season due to being at the other end of the country in Exeter at university; but, against all medical advice, I will, of course, support them forever more. However, this last week has made me realise that it will be a long long long time before things turn around for us.
This season should have been the season, we had the squad, we had the support, we had the money, we have a reasonably competent manager (we could have a lot worse) and a lot of young players coming through. It wasn`t to be and now we must face the god awful, soul destroying reality.
Right, where's that Prozac?
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