Regular Vital SWFC contributor Mark Hollins detects something in the air..
'Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.'
There's a funny smell around Hillsborough these days; and I'm not talking about the open top toilets on the Kop...
Nope, I smell success... wait... no it's optimism... no no... could it be a sharp scent of a new dawn?
Aaaanyway it's one of the better smells of recent times.
What a season. It's been up and down, as per, but the ups, especially in terms of points on the board, have far outweighed the downs. We have top class teams sniffing (must have a nose obsession today) around our players. We've played the best and matched them many a time. Our position in the league is in single figures for the first time in what must be ten years. Jeff Stelling, the legend himself, even stated that we are one to look out for next year!
I hope Jeff's view, like many of ours, isn't clouded by a great run of form and not backed up by the board...
The downs; you'll be pushed to find a team who can score over seventy but concede nearly the same... Clearly problem number 1. The goals have clearly been fine, although I'm going to be controversial and say our second priority should be a top-notch goal getter, every team successful in this division (Wolves aside!) has someone they can rely on to score high teens and early 20's.
Staff turnover in the Hillsborough goal is borderline scandalous. The defence is OK but lacks depth. Kenny Lunt is simply not good enough as a defensive midfielder.
The season has to go to Brunt, Whelan and Frank the Tank, our only true performers ALL season. Well done lads. Special mention to McAuley but of course Brian Laws, Mr Positive himself. Well played Bri, you are proving yourself admirably!
We finished 4 points off the play offs and, thanks to an extremely strong play off pack, we'll be seeing the back of 3 very good championship teams next year. Next year has to be the time to push on.
Push on to what though? What are we all hoping for?!
I know people look back to, even our latter, days in the Prem and believe that should be our aim, but they're wrong and not just for one reason... it didn't smell as good as everyone remembers
For us Owls, like all other fans, we see our road as a one way street. We would have been fined a lot over the last 10 years!
What differs all supporters of all clubs is how long that road is...
I think ours is shorter than it once was; we once stood side by side in all respects with Manchester United. They are now out of reach. Trying to reach those heights is what almost killed us. We have been out of the Prem almost the exact amount of time that wages and transfer fees have gone beyond reality; they were always high in our time and we suffered from it, but we've missed the ridiculous, and the revenue that comes with it. Possibly a good thing judging our previous Premier spending habits...
Firstly, we can't go down the road of employing some of the tripe we were so used to in those days; Simon Donnelly, Bob de Bilde et al are not what we need now or when we get back. I for one hope it's some time before we break our transfer record again, because, right now, we`re heading the right way. When we were great in the elite, we had teams formed fairly cheaply: that's our aim, because it's working for us in the Championship!
We should be looking at the Boltons of this world as the 'end of the road'.
After all, we can always extend it ;)
Whoever takes over this year mustn't be afraid to spend some: not a lot, but enough and wisely.
We need to realise the dream, dare to achieve it, have no regrets and simply learn from our many mistakes!
Here's to a great season and what promises to be a very interesting summer.
Prediction: Promotion! ID's! Chinese?! UpnDown! Sheffield Derbies...
Up the Owls!