Once again the football wizards in charge of arranging the matches we normal folk have to play have deemed it necessary to schedule one game in May, consequently extending the series by this short nub of an episode. I can’t tell you why; all I can do is waffle on and make this slightly worth your while.
First up, as usual, injury updates. Roy Burnell recovered quicker than expected from his sprained wrist (baby) and was available for selection for the Northampton game.
Claus Larsen also made fans of the club happy as he was awarded the Young Player of the Month award for April after a string of “decent” performances. What a ringing endorsement for the lad.
And finally, before we crack on, it was reported that the game at Sixfield was to be played in front of a good crowd, rumoured to be around 5,000. Our fans had clearly bought up the extra tickets so they could be present to join in the end of season celebrations with the players at full time. Good on them.
Matchday 55 – League Two – Northampton Town v Weston-super-Mare
To begin with, yes, I did forget to do the proper screen shot of Northampton’s badge (the return of #professional). Nevertheless, despite this oversight we were still feeling confident. Northampton had endured a tough season and, whilst it wasn’t bad as last year’s goal-shipping vintage, they were sitting in 17th place without much to cheer them up. Let’s get this done.
It wasn’t really even much of a challenge. Clearly, Northampton’s players were on the beach for this game as they could barely muster even an ounce of resistance against our outstanding attacking play. Perhaps that had something to do with Captain Barbosa’s goal after less than one minute that set the tone of the game and immediately caused the Northampton players’ heads to drop.
The rest of the half was essentially shooting practice for us, albeit without actually hitting the target too many times. We even managed to miss a penalty, such was our hubris and over confidence. Thankfully, the practice we put into our shooting in the first half paid off in the second as we scored two goals within six minutes of the restart to put the game to bed. First Olli Sara broke through their defence straight from kick off to score, before Bob Holmes pounced minutes later to hammer home a third.
At this point, Northampton were dead and buried and we were attacking at will. This approach was the correct one to take and presented us with a fourth goal. Olli Sara was playing his best game of the season and did well to thump a brilliant header into the back of the net to finish the scoring.
Northampton didn’t really seem to have tried but I didn’t mind as it allowed us the opportunity to put on a display for our loyal and excellent fans to cheer about. It was a nice way to end the season and, at the final whistle, the fans that had made the long journey to Northampton streamed onto the pitch to celebrate with the players. Some fans even tried to lift me on their shoulders but wisely gave up pretty quickly once they understood the strength it would take to achieve such a feat.
The board got some good news as we received nearly £28,000 in prize money. Given that we are nearly £2million in debt I doubt that this will make much difference but, as a small grocery shop says, every little helps.
…Although it doesn’t help that much when we end up paying out £195,000 worth of bonuses to the squad for winning the league. I really should have paid closer attention to the extra clauses in our players’ contracts…
Luckily, though, this was largely offset by the Premier League solidarity payment that saw the club net a lifesaving £250,000. That money only gave the club the very briefest of waves before it was immediately sent off to service the many, many debts the club now owes…
So, at the end of a historic year for Weston-super-Mare, here was the final League Two table. As you can see, we finished on 93 points, seven clear of Notts County. Oxford United were the side to gain promotion automatically by finishing third, whilst Aldershot managed to win the play-offs to join us in League One next season.
The final standings represented a new high watermark for Weston-super-Mare AFC, improving on our only other season in the division by twelve places. Not bad.
Elsewhere, the FA Cup had an interesting conclusion as Manchester City played Charlton Athletic in the final. Charlton had endured a torrid campaign, ending the season bottom of the Championship and relegated to League One, but it still took City until the 87th and 90th minutes to finally win the game, Carlos Tevez and Neymar getting the goals to condemn the Latics to an unlucky defeat.
Enough about that, let’s end this episode on a high. Look what I done gone and Well deserved (so long as “Manager” doesn’t include anything to do with finances).
Thank you for your support this season, it has been a blast. In the next episode, I start the ball rolling on our first foray into League One life by signing loads of players (great idea) and playing loads of money-spinning friendlies (better idea). Come along and see what fun we have!