Archive | May, 2014

No alarms and no surprises

5 May

Saturday 3rd May 2014
Nottingham Forest 1.2 Brighton and Hove Albion
(Derbyshire)                          (Ward, Ulloa)

So the end is here and I face the final curtain. No alarms and no surprises from this game: all very predictable what with Derbyshire scoring early on and a second half capitulation that saw the opposition fans having a party in the Lower Bridgford, two soft goals and Danny Collins performing a rather mirthless impression of a Chuckle Brother with his ‘to you’ routine to gift-wrap Ulloa an injury time winner that gives the Seagulls an opportunity to face off against Derby County in the play-offs.

Like I said, all very routine on the last day of the season here at the City Ground.

Best moment

• Jack Hobbs’ header bulging the Derby net
• Abdoun’s dinked Panenkaesque penalty against West Ham United
• Andy Reid pirouetting like Nureyev to finish off Bolton Wanderers and ensure we started with 3 straight wins
And the winner is…
• Matt Derbyshire’s outrageous late scorcher against Leeds United to quell the celebrations emanating from Ross McCormack’s equaliser. Joy unconfined.

Worst moment

Nominations (stand by, there are a few of these):
• Yeovil away…all of it
• Sheffield United away…second half
• Burnley away…two specific moments: (i) hearing of Andy Reid’s injury while walking to Turf Moor from car (ii) that half time walk to the tunnel by Billy Davies
• Fawaz’s Fridges revealed as the sponsor
• Derby County away…all of it
• The incessant injuries that just kept on coming
• Charlton Athletic at home…all of it
• Photographer shenanigans at Millwall
• “The innocent shall not be harmed”
• Barnsley away
• “Watch this space”
• Chris Cohen limping off against Burnley at home
• Darius Henderson unashamedly celebrating a handled goal at Middlesbrough
• March…all of it
And the winner is…
• Stephen Dobbie’s late winner for Blackpool at the City Ground. Him again.

Moment you thought this was our season:
• A pulsating away draw at Watford. Fresh from 3 straight wins, we travelled to Watford to face what we thought would be a very strong team. We matched them toe to toe and came away with a point from a highly enjoyable game after which I felt that if we finished above Watford, we would be going straight up. We did finish above Watford. We didn’t go straight up.

Moment you realised it clearly wasn’t:
• Getting a spanking against Wigan Athletic in the first half and realising that we couldn’t quite compete with their fluent football and passing. We would have to do much better than draw away at Watford: there would be bigger fish to fry. And we didn’t have a fryer.

Players you’d want to keep in your sticker album:
• Andy Reid. Future manager in the way he organises the team on the field.
• Henri Lansbury
• Chris Cohen
• Jack Hobbs
• David Vaughan
• Jamie Paterson
• Ben Osborn
• Jamaal Lascelles
• Karl Darlow

Players you’d happily swap:
• Danny Collins. I’ve always tried to defend him but that moment against Brighton was one serious error too many.
• Dan Harding. I’ve always tried to defend him but…I hereby give up
• Gonzalo Jara Reyes. Seriously…what happened here? How did a player so initially impressive turn so bad?
• Radoslaw Majewski. You can only dine out on two goals (Derby at home. West Brom away) for so long.
• Danny Fox. Rarely have I seen a player so embarrassed like Burnley away.
• Greg Halford. It would help matters if he didn’t carry himself in the manner of someone who wished he was anywhere else but on a football pitch.

Why you’ll renew your season ticket…again:
• Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce. Stuart Pearce.

Why you’ll spend your Saturday afternoons either mooching around B&Q or watching Soccer Saturday:
• Because football is rubbish and a waste of time and I hate it because we never win and even Wolves made League 1 look easy whereas we spent 3 seasons wandering around blindly in the dark down there before luckily discovering a secret passage out and Leicester City have gone up with Wes Morgan as captain and Derby County have finished 3rd with Steve McLaren in charge and Patrick Bamford up front and it’s just not fair.
• Season Ticket prices have risen.
• There is a risk that we will end up playing some turgid stuff, as dictated by, in some people’s eyes, a manager with a limited grasp of tactics who has little experience of club management and who once played David James up front. This all means that at some point, we will be expressing the unutterable thought that ‘Psycho Out’ is a chant that needs to happen. But I’m not starting it…no way….too scared.

Will you be doing it all again when you suspect, deep down, in the darkest of places, beyond Dante’s burning infernos, that there really must be more to life than spending a good proportion watching, writing about, thinking about and agonising over humans kicking a ball around a field?

Of course.

And that, dear reader, is that.

See you in August.