No doubt the last 16 years have been hard.
Some horrific downs.
.. selling Smith to Man Utd hit me hard to start off with. Play off heart breaks. Bankruptcy, administration, multiple points deductions, relegation to 3rd tier. Selling every talented player that came through our academy. Having some truly dire players and managers. Cellino. The morally wrong and controversial preseason tour of Burma. Losing to teams like Hereford live on national TV. Playing some of the dullest, boring painful to watch football. Losing to Shef Utd who leapfrog us and steal automatic promotion then going on to be the first team ever to lose play off semis when winning the away leg first. Losing 5-0 to Blackpool was another hard one for me being from Blackpool myself I'm still living that one down.
But we also had some highs.
... Beating Man Utd 1-0 in their back yard when we were a 3rd tier team, the siege mentality winning streak, promotion from League one on the last day of season when it looked like we were gonna blow it, still having massive attendances even when in 3rd tier showing the world the loyalty of our supporters, cult heroes like Beckford, Kisnorbo and Phillips. Bielsa, Bielsa ball - the best football I have ever seen us play. and finally... our mighty return to where we belong, the Premier League. MoT x
To be fair to Smithy, Man Utd were the only club that could deal with us in cash to the tune of £7m, other clubs were on the radar but because our board had well and truly screwed us up, there was no other option but to accept and I thought it was pretty unfair that Smithy was labelled in the same breath as the money grabbing Judas's of Ferdinand and Kewell. Downs - Going to Wembley 3 times and coming back empty handed, Aston Villa, Watford & Rotherham. Being at the last home game of the season in the Premiership and signing our hearts out even though they were broken. Looking like a complete laughing stock as the merry-go round of managers went on and on. Highs - Being at ER for the final game against Bristol Rovers that got us into the Championship (and nearly gave me heart failure) putting £10 bet on Leeds beating Man Utd in FA Cup 3rd round at Old Trafford. Sitting down and chatting with Peter Lorimer and Carl Shutt at one of the home games and everything that has happened in the last 2 years and that includes the disappointment of last season. Some of the football we have played has been an absolute joy to watch and I cannot wait for next season. MOT