We’re one promotion away from the promised land, though it’s probably going to be the hardest one to achieve – the Championship is widely regarded to be the toughest second division in the world. We’ll be playing teams where one of their players can earn more in a week than we pay the entire squad in a month. Our reputation is still somewhere around that of a decent League Two side, so attracting players of the required calibre will be extremely difficult. We’ll have to rely on our young squad hopefully developing faster with the higher standard of football on offer…
For the first time in this career I’ve dipped my toes into the loan market because there’s not many players out there worth buying, or they’re out of our price range. I don’t want to buy players now to get us promoted that probably won’t be worth having in the Premier League when we eventually get there. To think we’ve come this far and our record transfer fee is still only £20,000 is amazing, really. Of these signings, only Scott Taylor will be a starting player, the others are bench/backups, as I’m keeping faith with my youngsters.
Measures, Sheriff, Djop and Kasongo were all original Hackney Wick players and none of them have played a senior game for a few seasons now so I let them go upon expiry of their contracts. Only Keita, Farid, M.Hristov and club icon Idemudia remain, with only Idemudia in any way able to contribute, as fourth choice striker. The sales of Diallo and Benaraibi were record sales. Actually, they’re our only sales which generated any funds!
It was a rough start to life in the Championship, with only five wins in our first twenty games, but nine draws in that period ensured we sat well clear of the relegation zone. We improved considerably from there onwards, clawing our way into the mid-table and even flirting with the playoffs towards the end. Teams around us began to drop more points as the season wore on, whilst we were still picking them up, so we ended up in the playoffs!
The final was a crapshoot, and we were royally shafted by Brighton, who have a striker that earns more a week than our squad earns in over a month. We were properly beaten, and deservedly so.
We almost didn’t make it past the third round AGAIN, but for a late goal. To make up for the scare, we went on something of an epic run for a team of our stature, making it to the quarter final where we faced Premier League side Leeds, and only lost on the lottery that is penalties! At the end of last season when I signed a new contract, I added a clause that paid me a bonus if we reached the quarter final. #foresight 😀
No quarter finals in the EFL Cup this season, but still a pleasing enough run to reach the fourth round, where we were stopped by Liverpool, and we didn’t embarass ourselves either with only a 1-0 loss against a far bigger side.
If we finish anything above mid-table it’ll have been a good season. I think this season was a fluke, and I don’t really expect it to happen again next season, even with our provisional budget of £11m, as our reputation is only that of a low League One side now which still isn’t good enough to attract the sort of players that we should be buying.