An almost improbable series of events has lead up to this point. Five wins in a row for the first time in seven years and our nearest rivals’ obsession with failing to win.
Presenting an achievement that should be compared in lower league terms to Leicester’s Herculean Premier League victory. Because, coming within touching distance of the playoffs after having Mark Robins as manager for three quarters of the season should be seen as a startling achievement.
So forgive my hyperbole for a minute and suspend your disbelief at an idea that sounds outlandish, but six weeks ago, if you’d said to yourself we’ll be within tasting-distance of the playoffs at 12.30 pm on Sunday the 8th of May, you’d have muttered yourself insane.
And now we’ve sold 2,300 tickets with potentially more to come for the final day showdown at Bramall Lane. Where, if we better Barnsley’s result we’ll have zipped under everyone’s radar and into the Promised Land’s antechamber. After a seemingly dismal season hitherto. A feat so apparently impossible six weeks ago, something we’d not expected in our wildest dreams this season. Something an ex-Iron stalwart, with more sartorial elegance than our last three managers combined has ushered forward.
And with the stoic form and rebirth of the Minister of Defence (Mirfin) coupled with a solid, close to impenetrable base with Wallace at the back. A partnership now comparable to Crosby and Foster. We’ve professionally, and steadily waltzed into the final day, with the top six firmly on everyone’s lips. But don’t say it too loud or the dream may shatter, but instead believe, and ‘do not dream’ as Ranieri so eloquently phrased it.
As I always like to say, and will repeat here – the old maxim, ‘journey before destination’. And what a journey it’s been these past weeks. If we do falter, and stumble before the finishing line then pay no heed. For I do believe that we have finally found a manager and a group of players who give everything for the shirt. A novelty of late, after seasons of dross under Wilcox and Robins. And that alone should be a point of pride and worth as much if not more than climbing into the playoffs. Because you then become confident, of an even better season in the same league next year, orchestrated by Alexander the Great.
But be sure that it could happen, we could have a moment as exhilarating and mythologised as Cliff Byrne’s bullet header in the dying embers of the Tranmere game, a moment as sublime as Grant McCann’s left footed exocet at Wembley against Luton, and one as magnificent as the win against Millwall, under the watchful eyes of the former Messiah.
It could all happen again, and why not here? After all, you have to believe just a little bit. So my advice would be to buy a ticket and take the ride.
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