And for awhile through January & February I was letting my optimism begin to run away with me. Bradders had seemingly gelled the squad after its poor start was winning games and the club sat on the periphery of the Play-off picture. Then I renewed my season ticket.
From that point we reverted to type and it was downhill all the way. Bradders was dispensed with and a run of form as the season closed that had us at times thinking of relegation rather than promotion. Seemingly gone are the days of the free flowing football throughout the team and positive attacking wingers, replaced by a dull narrow style of play which seems to constrict everyone.
Things need to change if the club is to move forward and first retain those fans that have persevered throughout the season and then secondly to attract those missing 2000+ fans that Eddie thinks are out there and need to turn up at Dean Court to break even. I remain to be convinced that if we see more of the same in the coming season that we will ever get back to those days of 7000+ attendances, the disillusionment & dissatisfaction seems too great.
Personally Paul Groves was not on my list to assume command but it was inevitable. Alas I think he will start on the back foot with the fans given what we saw at the end of last season and him being the perceived cheap option. One positive is that he is Eddie’s man and will be supported to the hilt, hopefully, but in the eyes of many this will count for nothing if performances and results do not improve.
A player leaving is never a good thing and saying farewell to a few right at the end of the season is always sad, particularly for Wazza, Ryan & Symes. The focus on acquiring yet another striker seems curious given our surplus of numbers in that area already and the addition of two new strikers surely cannot be good news for the big man. Focus on midfield and defence would have been my preferred option and with us not yet halfway through the close season, many twists and turns are likely, with uncertainty around Coops & Pugh springing to mind as I write this!
The return of Josh will be interesting. I hope he assimilates back well and gets the support of the fans straight away or life could be interesting. He wasn’t here long enough before, in my view, to fully show us his potential over a sustained period and I for one am excited by the prospect of him starting alongside a big target man.
So as I prepare for my fortnight away I have to say my confidence is not overly high. League One will be stronger than ever and we need to perform to a much higher standard than we did last season and on a consistent basis if we are going to achieve anything. I doubt the fans will be too forgiving if not and then who knows how our Board will react.
Happy holidays one and all and I look forward to seeing you at Frattan Park on Saturday 18th August and 3pts (a Josh hat-trick).
UP THE CHERRIES!