|Well, itís wonderful isnít it? What progress over the past
three seasons! Getting to Wembley and having the possibility of Division 1 football ahead of us! Even a few months ago most of us were dubious at any likelihood of that happening. And if it does weíll all need the whole of the summer away from football just to let it sink in. Oh wait, thereís a World Cup just around the corner.
But now, tomorrow, we have the greatest day in the clubís history ahead of us.
But I have another angle on this Ė it doesnít make any rational sense. I have a big problem with the play off scenario. Sure it brings excitement (and gives almost every end of season game Ďsomething to play forí) but makes no logical sense. After a season of 46 games why should the team in 7th position even be entertaining the idea of promotion? Itís a league, after all and the table after such a volume of matches doesnít lie does it? Did anyone see the Fleetwood/Droylsden scenario almost play out unfairly a few weeks back?
Fleetwood had finished 21 points clear of Droylsden over the 40 matches Ė pretty conclusive Iíd say Ė but almost lost to them in the semi final play off, only winning in the end 5-4 on penalties. Like others reading this I was delighted to be at Morecambe last week to watch our team finish off the job professionally and secure their Wembley place. And it was Morecambe (who really should have been automatically promoted with the not-dealt-with Nottís Bounty shenanigans) who I saw play in that
first new Wembley Conference play
off, 3 years ago, in the season we were Champions.†
Aside from having my breath taken away by my first sight of the inside of the stadium I found the day a bizarre one. After all, we had secured the championship in front of 4000+ folks against Aldershot and yet here were
two teams vying to join us but in the nationís stadium in front of ten times that many. We, I felt, missed out on that glory. And, why, warming to my theme, are FA Cup semi finals played at Wembley - I just donít get it? It seems these days you canít just have one winner, there have to be several.
But, a big however. This wonít stop me or any of you enjoying a great day tomorrow. Iíll probably be more nervous in the hours leading up to the match than I was for a recent job interview or yesterday when I did a workshop presentation in front of 70 fellow professionals.†
Football brings us all down to a common denominator - the love of our team - and rationality goes out the window.†
As for the match itself: I fear Rotherham may have too much for us (Le Fondue in particular) but our recent form, team sprit and never say die attitude may well prevail. Having seen a couple of national newspaper predictions this morning, penalties anyone? And how fair would that be?