Welcome back! Last time out I took desperate measures to try and save the Retirement Home by signing three players under the age of 35 to care and nurture our old lads. Even with help, we’ve won FOUR out of 29, so you can’t convince me I made the wrong decision. Here’s where we re-join the action as we try to mount a great escape.
With just 17 games to go we need to get shifting. A home defeat to Leicester (who are top) will not help our cause.
Neither, for that matter, will conceding two in a minute to QPR. We were very good for 78 minutes but quite honestly I have my own brown flow going on now about our status in this division.
Hold on a minute, is that signs of life? Poyet and the young Felle score us a surprise 2-0 win at Deepdale. That was much needed.
Any hope though is quickly extinguished by Drewe Broughton and Ipswich. Waddle out for a few weeks too with a broken mullet.
We’re down to 10 when young Cocker is sent off and staring yet another defeat in the face when Signorelli scores his 700th goal against us. Fellenger does equalise but goals 701 and 702 ensure we leave Walsall with nothing.
Patrick Valery smashes in a free kick against Plymouth and we’re begging the clock to run down…our luck runs out on 84 minutes and we have to settle for a point.
As we head into March you really feel WBA away is a must win 6 pointer. Despite conceding to Lord Farquhar, goals from Poyet and Fellenger sneak us the win and just about keep us in the hunt.
6 points, 10 games. Eek.
Another home defeat checks our progress. One step forward, two steps back.
Carlisle. Bloody Carlisle. I’m sure we play this lot 4 times a season. Stimac gets poleaxed from a corner, a bittersweet moment that costs us his services but gives us the chance to go ahead from the spot. Because of the injury I can pick the taker and as Jarni has 18 for shooting and 20 for set pieces, he’s the thinking mans choice. He finds row Z. Sigh. Thankfully the Micker heads in what turns out to be the winner and the dream is alive.
2-0 down at home to Charlton, one of the few clubs below us and we need something to happen. Fellenger scores twice in five minutes which is basically what I asked for. It’s a point, we could have done with three, but we’re still in it.
Spurs are too good for us. Next.
The gap is still 6 but now there are only 6 games to go. Double eek.
When the pressure is on apparently we come to party. Bolton get a good kicking for one of our biggest wins.
Then came the miracle of Nottingham. Poyet is sent off for the same reason he was sacked on live TV. Cockerill is sent off for being a little nuisance. I’m calling the ref all the names under the sun then he gives us a pen when their keeper takes down Fellenger. I’m waving imaginary cards that never come but Valery slots the pen and somehow, despite Nwankwo Kanu’s best efforts, we win. What a result!
We are within striking distance!
A home game with Kidderminster is a great opportunity…which we pass up. A point might prove to be useful.
Coventry are just about out of trouble but as they’re 20th they represent a team that are not very good. Naturally, we fall behind but the Micker haunts his former club with two goals and even Waddle rounds the keeper for the icing on a ridiculous cake.
We have a chance! The gap is still three points and it’s not really in our hands but let’s win our last home game and see where it takes us.
It is a must win, really. Any dropped points now could see Charlton safe and that would be that. Bristol Rovers run deep in our history. I think we played them in the playoffs in Division 2. There’s been a lot happened since then, but one constant is Mick Quinn, who scores twice either side of half time to have us cruising. Johansen adds two more and somehow, we’ve pulled ourselves out of the bottom 3.
The final day – I don’t know why Brentford have already played but whatever. We can’t finish higher than 21st. A win would settle is but we’ve got midtable Stockport away.
So it comes to pass that on Mick Quinn’s 43rd birthday, he scored the goal to keep us in the First Division. Stockport ought to be ashamed. The other results are irrelevant, though both Charlton and WBA lost which means we also could have lost but still. Happy birthday Micky.
19 for the Micker, my hero.
A quick look at the awards, which obviously we get none of…
Retirements though. Wow. This seems to be the final straw for so many…
In a way, I’m relieved. The squad was bursting at the seams and some of these haven’t played for years. You can add Gerard Kelly to this list, who has been released. Yordan Letchov is also out of contract and will probably be let go as I’ve got my eye on another non-EU player.
We’re in £1.8m of debt which isn’t good. I’m in two minds what to do – I could sell the carers to clear the debt but I wouldn’t have the money to buy anybody should we find ourselves in deep trouble again next season. Maybe I’ll see who we can pick up over the summer. See you for season 9?