We can look forward to playing the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, and probably getting played off the park again, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is we have earned the right to pit our wits against the eilte again. This season has been fantastic on so many levels, even if the opposition has disappointed at times, and for many reasons this is a season I will look back on fondly. There isn’t much that will beat that winning feeling, and it’s a feeling we have experienced 30 times this season. We haven’t always played like Champions, but the feat of scoring the most goals and conceding the least throughout the season should tell it’s own story – we have been a cut above the opposition for the majority of the season. Sure we have been outplayed at times, we have also been awful at times, but it didn’t matter in the end. All that matters is getting points on the board and, by hook or crook, it is something we have done remarkably well this season.
We had been a Premier League team for a very long time, 16 years in fact. Of course it came to an end last season, and not many of us knew what to expect this season. There had been various mutterings about the league being ‘one of the toughest to get out of’ and questions were asked as to whether our ‘overpaid prima-donna’s’ would be able to handle the physical nature of The Championship. We got through it, and left some moaning about our own physical approach.
Whether by accident or not, we appear to have fallen upon a formula that has worked from the off, and I see no reason why it can’t continue to work. Hard graft and determination have seen us through the majority of the season, the ability to wear teams down and nick a goal from nothing has been key on more than a couple of occasions. Well that is what Premier League teams do isn’t it? We have never really looked like losing at home all season, aside from the odd draw of course but we can’t have things all our own way. Week in week out we have had to deal with teams who treated playing against us as their cup final, 46 of them in fact, and we only lost 4.
Through all the fantastic games this season, we must also spare a thought for our opposition. The majority of them are proper fans who, much like us, follow their team regardless of any lack of glory and it’s been a privilege to spend time with them this season. Some teams went beyond the call of duty with their hospitality, remember Plymouth a few weeks back? How about Barnsley who gave us a startling 7,000 tickets? Granted, they gained financially but they still didn’t have to turn Oakwell into near enough a home game for us. What about Peterborough? That was the best trip, I’ve ever been on! Even Cardiff and Forest away was a good laugh. Fans of other Championship teams, if you read this I would like to say thank you to you all.
So what about next season then? Pfft, that’s next season. For now let’s try to remember the good times. The winning feeling may not be as prevalant next season so it would be rude to ruin what we are feeling right now. That is not to say we shouldn’t be looking forward to next season, of course we should. Every fan of every team wants to play against the best in the land. Luckily we get the chance to do that, but only through what we have achieved this season.
Let’s not forget about it so easily!