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Making sense of it all

May 10, 2016

Where do I start? How on earth do you put it all into words?

We throw words like “fantastic”, “incredible”, “amazing” around all the time – I even got christened Captain Amazing by Sparrow and the lads after using the word so much.

But fantastic, incredible, amazing this is. It’s also unbelievable and an absolute fairy-tale, I honestly did not expect to see Burton Albion play in the 2nd tier of English football.

When I was a kid, Wimbledon were a Premier League club. I couldn’t get my head around the fact Burton played them in non-league as recently as the 70’s, but in less than 20 years they’d risen to the Premier League. I used to think supporting the Dons throughout that time must’ve been amazing!

Meanwhile we laboured on in the Southern Premier. I’d manage Division 3 teams on the Commodore Amiga (the days before the Playstation!) and would dream of the Albion making the football league so I could be them on footy games.

Each pre-season I’d get the team tabs from Match magazine, and longed for the day there was a yellow and black Albion tab included.

When the Football League trophy (JPT) allowed the top 8 Conference teams to enter, I hoped we’d make it so we could experience glamour ties at places such as Bury and Mansfield.

Making the FA Cup first round was usually the highlight of the season.

I remember ahead of the Rochdale FA cup game in 1999/00, the Tuesday before we had lost at Gloucester. My Dad was saying how we could do without the Cup as it’d disrupt the league campaign – I couldn’t believe he was saying it! I was so excited for our big cup game, Rochdale at home, wow! – Hindsight lets me see where the old man was coming from!

Gaining promotion to the football league was the pinnacle, it just meant the world to everyone associated with the club.

As well as the big teams we’d now face such as Bradford, Notts County, Chesterfield, there was all the other things like the League Cup, JPT, and entering the FA Cup in the first round proper.

Even after 7 years, this seasons League Cup draw was a source of excitement as we were handed an away tie at Bolton.

Next season we are one league above Bolton.

And we’re now one of the League Cup seeds! So instead of Bolton or Reading away, it could be Accrington or Barnet.

As for the FA Cup, we’re straight in at the 3rd round! (You watch us get Oxford away).

There is no more JPT, thank goodness, but I don’t think I’ll miss a competition where my fondest memory is us getting a bye into round 2.

There’s countless massive Midlands derbies in store, and also teams like Ipswich, QPR, Blackburn. It’s just staggering the calibre of club we will be competing with next season.

It’s not sunk in yet and I don’t think it will until the fixtures come out.

Sunday was agony then ecstasy.

The journey up was a good laugh; few beers, fake Muskateer ‘taches attached, inflatables blown up, the usual.

But as kick-off neared the old anxiety crept in, the same anxiety that filled me in the Southend play-off away-leg but strangely enough deserted me at Wembley.

The game was cagey, nervy, and as the Walsall goals flew in at Vale Park, unbearable.

2nd half, and I just kept looking at the scoreboard clock, urging it to go bloody quicker.

I couldn’t stand still and my throat was so dry; why do we do this to ourselves.

My heart literally dropped when the Donny lad fell in the box, pure relief when the ref waved all appeals away.

The roar when Calum Butcher broke through on goal.. oh Calum if only you’d squared it to Lucas, the celebrations and release of pressure would’ve been incredible!! But that doesn’t take away what a tremendous shift it was from Calum playing the unfamiliar lone striker role.

As Donny went down to 9 men, the game turned, thankfully, into a game of keep-ball for us.

We gathered on the corner of the pitch near to Phil Edwards, about to take a throw, as injury time wound down.

It was surreal being stood so close to the action and when the ref blew that full time whistle, wow, just wow…

It’s hard to put it into words the pure elation, like we’d scored 5 last minute winners at once, energy just surging through your body as you go absolutely crazy with your mates!

I ran over to Lucas Akins before gathering with the lads, forming our own circle in the centre circle, singing and dancing in the East Yorkshire sun.

I gave Shane CS my Aussie flag, had a pic, shook Cloughie’s hand, before some kind of order was restored and the players lifted the 2nd place trophy, before we all just sang and sang and sang……


It was just amazing, I know I keep saying amazing but just looking at the online thesaurus and my other options are words such as awesome, incredible, marvellous, stunning, unbelievable, wonderful, and yes it is all of them, but ultimately it is fucking amazing, and sorry Mum if you’re reading this that there’s an f-bomb in there but come on, we’re Burton Albion and we’re Championship!!

These are incredible times at our little football club, let’s just enjoy next season and remember who we are and where we’ve come from, and continue to trust the fantastic people who run this club.

I bloody love the Albion.


From → The Albion.

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