Well that’s it for another season so far as the actual games are concerned. And what a fine way to end the season! A 3-1 win against the Barcodes shoving Pardew’s idle boasts up hid jacksie. Securing 7th place above the Dark Side (a celebration given that we lost 10 of the first 20 games) and the departure of King Kenny and the fun watching the gnashing and wailing of time warp supporters.
The season had its ups and downs of course. That awful, awful game at Wembley and the abject disappointment that followed. The first game of the season being cancelled and a resultant trip to Barnet of all places, confident of getting off to a winning start against QPR who had been thrashed by Bolton on the opening day of the season. We lost of course. The departure of Mikel Arteta at the last minute of the transfer window with no replacement in sight. The loss to a poor Chelsea side at home in the League Cup when a good run looked on the cards. Who could forget Jan Mucha dropping the ball into his own net?
A decent transfer window sparked a recovery that looked most unlikely before Christmas. Luck in the cup draws and then steady progress in the league, stemming defeats, gaining some wins then exploding into action with a goal fest over the closing weeks of the season. The signing of Jelavic was a great piece of business as was the return of Steven Pienaar. But the contribution of Landon Donavan and the steady role that Darron Gibson performs were equally instrumental.
The season closed with a feeling of what might have been in both league and cup. No European qualification once more, unfortunately, but an increase in the feel good factor missing for so long in the dark months of Autumn and early Winter. Through it all there have been some great days out (nights too!) and, despite the inevitable ups and downs of the actual games Shropshire Blues continued their beer fuelled laughter in the face of adversity. There is one outstanding puzzle to resolve regarding the season’s biggest surprise. Was it that remarkable comeback at Old Trafford? The incredible mid-week turn out for the cup replay at Sunderland (and scare bleu what a noise the 8,000 made that night!). Or, and most unlikely of all, Lynne and her Lady Luck fantasy league team picking up the handsome sterling silver trophy for winning the League of Doom Cup?
It would be rude not to mention Graeme as the runaway League winner despite several months of denial by patron Mr Goat who hoped and believed until the last week, typical for an Evertonian, that we would make up the 1,000 or so points he trailed.
In the meantime we sit impatiently waiting for some news of the pre-season tour and publication of the new season’s fixtures. The old season finished only days ago but already thoughts have turned to the next campaign.