As the season approaches its conclusion. Maybe now is a good time for a little reflection, on what has been a season full of ups and downs. At this moment it looks increasingly likely that Manchester United will beat us to number 19. That in itself is enough for us to start reaching for a bottle. But when it’s coupled with a season which saw us become embroiled in a battle at the foot of the table – well, is one bottle enough?
We find ourselves facing the prospect of a season out of Europe. Although looking at Spurs run-in (they must face Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and us – with only Arsenal at White Hart Lane) it is perhaps a little premature to write off a Europa spot. But if we do fail, then from a financial and image perspective we may find it more difficult to compete in the transfer market, over the summer.
Yet there is a renewed optimism at the club, which is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. Yes it’s mixed with a good dose of mass apathy, but is the apathy just down to people already looking past the horizon of this season?It bodes well for the future when we’re already getting excited about next season, before this season concludes; despite still competing for a European spot.
There is plenty to be excited about too. Comparing how we entered this season with how we’ll enter the next one is quite literally a case of ‘chalk and cheese’. Unless there are any major surprises we’ll enter next season with:
– a manager at the helm who doesn’t even have to demand the support and respect of everyone involved at the club
– owners who have suitably impressed (to date) while calmly and quietly asserting their rightful position – in the background of the club
– a summer’s spending which will not see our squad weaken and from which we’ll actually see a ‘net spend’
These aren’t self-deluded fantasies about the future either. The genuine sense of optimism is palpable and spreading. It even spread to a commentator during the last game who stated that ‘surely we’ll see Liverpool challenging for the title again next season’. On our recent form there is no reason to doubt that we will, if the right decisions are taken over the summer.
Yes, Manchester United may well get to number 19 before us. But don’t doubt for one minute that we have every chance of getting to number 20 before them!