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Here we go again…

May 10, 2014

Smiles before the despair... Spaz & me before the Bradford home leg last season.

Smiles before the despair… Spaz & me before the Bradford home leg last season.

Remind yourself where you were, what you were doing shortly after Bradford beat us in the play-offs last season.

If someone had said to you; “You’ll lose Maghoma and Zola will go this summer, Diamond will go mid-season, and just 1 of Rowett’s summer signings will work out… where do you think you’ll finish?”

You’d have probably burst into tears. There’s only so much pain 1 person can take in a day.

Then this person turns and says; “1 of the teams in this season’s play-offs will battle relegation all season, surviving on the final day. 1 of them will have a mediocre mid-table season. 1 will finish 6th after a steely, solid, if unspectacular season. Which 1 do you think the Brewers will be?”

At this point I’d have been sobbing uncontrollably. I’m talking full-on tantrum. Tears, dummy spat out, toys not only thrown but hurled out of the pram. If I had been forced to choose, I’d have had us down for having the mediocre mid-table season, then the side battling relegation. My last pick would’ve been finishing 6th.

What about you, on hearing this what would you have predicted?

I think this yet again highlights what an absolutely fantastic job Gary Rowett, Kevin Summerfield and the rest of the backroom staff have done. For us to not really endure a play-off hangover, for us to go again over  a long gruelling season and finish 6th, higher than a lot of bigger more established league clubs is something we as supporters can be really proud off.

But of course, it hasn’t been all roses has it? I’m sure a high percentage of us will all agree that entertainment value has definitely been lacking at the Pirelli Stadium and at our away games this season.

This is partly down to other teams seeing us as a threat nowadays and setting up accordingly. It’s also down to Rowett wanting us to play a slightly different style of football that isn’t so open and means we can see out games a lot more comfortably than we could last season – Morecambe and Exeter at home spring to mind, as does Accrington away.

2013/14 has seen us defend admirably, the back four of Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sheriff, McCrory, have been consistent performers whilst the rest of the team, particularly the centre-midfielders, have had to sit deeper than maybe they had to last season in order for us to be stronger to break down.

It has come at a cost though. We’ve not scored anywhere as near as many goals compared to 2012/13, and have rarely produced such swashbuckling displays of ferocious attacking that become the norm from February to Bradford away in the play-offs last season.

It’s one of them where as supporters, we’re pleased with a win and 3 points and ultimately we are delighted again to make the play-offs and will be ecstatic should we make Wembley.

But there’s also the football fan in you that gets up early every day and goes to work, and looks forward to the footy on Saturday and seeing a good game and another Brewers win.

Work can be mundane, boring. You go to the football and want to be entertained. We were spoilt last season with some of the entertainment on offer, it was simply brilliant at times. This year going Albion has become a bit like going to work…

I think there’s a bit of frustration with us all that we couldn’t keep hold of our top 3 spot and go up automatically, and the Bury away game for me sums this season and that frustration up – we could’ve and should’ve been 3-0 up at half time but wasted chance after chance. In the 2nd half Bury picked up a gear but we defended strongly. In 1 game our lack of potency in front of goal and our defensive resoluteness was highlighted in all it’s glory.

But! Despite how un-spectacular this league season may have been it is still us, little Burton Albion who are 2 games away from Wembley, whilst fans of that much bigger club Bristol Rovers research Alfreton and Eastleigh on the Football Ground guide.

I said it a few paragraphs ago but I’ll say it again – Rowett, his backroom staff, and the players deserve so much credit for delivering the play-offs again for a 2nd season.

So onto tomorrow, the first leg at the Pirelli. We will awaken full of hope and anticipation and I shall feed mine with the finest full English breakfast Wetherspoons can offer. I’ll then enjoy a few pints of fizzy lager, a good laugh and chat with my mates, before singing my heart out on the terraces.

It doesn’t matter how many tickets we haven’t sold, those of us who care will be there.

Let’s do this!

UTB

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From → The Albion.

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