Agnew’s Angle: The End of The Beginning….. Not The Beginning of the End.

I am very happy, writes David Agnew, and no, I’ve not been on the Brandy Sours.

I am over the moon. Delighted not dismayed. In awe of what happened. Yes, so we lost to Portsmouth. Well, that’s what the book says, but we didn’t. We made the champions of the division play like naughty schoolboys. No discipline. No respect for the game, and showed them up to be complete shit houses when it came to sportsmanship. That was a huge victory.  To make your opponents, for whom if you believed any old mush from Fawcett Road, PO4 were the best total football team to grace the terf of Fratton Park into a bunch of cry babies and operatic actors, means you must be pretty decent. Which we were. Sincil Bank was full of optimism. Yes, we do need to find out why the half time water festival continued, when it had been raining for over an hour.

That obviously caused Danny Mandroui to slip and allow the Pompey keeper to just get his legs to it.

Credit Graham Burrell

Pompey’s goals were scored because we had every man and his dog up, to try and score. I am sure we will see them again, before too long, as I can’t imagine them doing an Ipswich, more like a Rotherham. I think Derby will be the team to succeed in the Championship, out of the teams promoted.

Yet I am, in a way, very grateful to the water Imp at half time. Say we had scored. Say we had held on. I believe there was a real risk of us fluking the playoffs and being promoted. That would have been a disaster.

I can hear some of you throw scorn at me and think, “Old Agnew’s been on the egg nog again.”  Actually, they were Pina Coladas. Seriously though, there is no way, absolutely none that we could have competed financially. Not one iota. It would have killed us. So, does that mean we should not try?

Credit Graham Burrell

Of course not, but it would be like suddenly trying to prepare for a wedding , with a hundred guests, with only a couple of half-pennies to rub together, a bit of fluff and a chipped button. Plus not being in the lottery of the play-offs also means that we can hopefully sort out the players on expiring contracts sooner. This allows for more time on which to build.

The progression to contend for a place in the Championship needs to be a gradual thing. It can not happen like a Wimbledon or a Watford, in the old days, it has to be as cleverly plotted as a Poirot mystery. Not a slam bam thank-you Mam, episode of Magnum P.I.  What we need is a clever bit of plotting. We need something akin to John Sullivan with Only Fools and Horses. You see in the first ever episode we see Rodney working through the inventory lists, that would be so important. That same list appeared again, when the series originally finished in 1996. The irony that they had the success under their noses for all that time and didn’t know it, is one of the biggest payoffs ever.  Now, I’m not saying we are going to find a missing watch worth £6m, stashed in a draw in the ticket office, but I do believe that we have some half priced cracked ice in our squad, that could be turned into some fantastic bunce.

Credit Graham Burrell

For this season is probably the best ever result we have achieved, since our much fabled return to the 92, in 2017? Why? Well, the answer to that is quite simple. Yes, we are punching slightly. Yes, this is undoubtedly the most successful time in our 140 year history. Yes, we have so much promise with our financial backers and yes we are starting to turn a dream into reality.  In 2019, before he left, Danny Cowley said he didn’t like the term consolidation. That is probably the dumbest thing he said, when he was our gaffer. For in order to grow, in order to be stable, in order to enjoy an incremental success, one occasionally has to pause, take stock and consolidate. That is the best way to success. If you over stretch yourself and consistently overspend what you don’t have, then sooner or later you will end up with the red and white buckets out, begging for your dwindling support to try and save their club again. Danny and his brother delivered the shot in the arm which we needed at the time. I for one argued for their return. Clive Nates, however, knew better and his astute recruitment campaign brought in Michael Skubala and the current coaching team. Others and I thought this was wrong. What fools we were (not me and Chris – Editor).

Credit Graham Burrell

Following my trip from Sincil Bank to the Cardiac ward in February, I recovered to see two of the most memorable games of football I have ever seen. A 6-0 and 5-0 victory. I thought I was still in a hospital bed somewhere dreaming…but no this was happening. I have never experienced such a wonderful end of season as this. This feels special and although Portsmouth took the honours this year, I know that in not too many seasons time we can follow them. I truly do believe that. The failure to get into the playoffs is not the end of our success story. It is the end of the beginning of our success story. In our 140th year, I truly believe the best is yet to come. Next time this year we could be millionaires, wearing Trevor Francis tracksuits, from a mush in Shepherds Bush………Here’s hoping.

Until Next time,

Take Care and