I’ve watched games before when you are focused just as much as on another result; I’m not sure I’ve watched one when progressively through the first 45 minutes everything – from all four games relevant for us - fell apart around you. We were getting soundly beaten, but more important Wigan were beating Fulham and Luton were ahead against Blackburn, sending us into the relegation zone. And just to round things off, before the break Barnsley went ahead against Brentford. It was absurd, we were 45 minutes away from disaster.
For the record after the half-time changes we threatened to get one back against Leeds, but once their third went in from a corner we were past caring about the game we were watching. Luton were now running away with things at home to Blackburn and it was all about Wigan/Fulham and Brentford/Barnsley. We needed both to turn around to stay up.
Cruelly they did. Fulham equalised at Wigan, then Brentford equalised against Barnsley. That would do it (even though Leeds had a fourth by then). And we were keeping our necks above water until another stoppage time goal. I’d feared Wigan winning but Barnsley at Brentford? After they won against Notts Forest in stoppage time? It happened. We were relegated.
Stoppage-time goals. We would have stayed up but for Birmingham’s equaliser, Barnsley’s two winners against Forest and Brentford. When all’s said and done, after the resumption we got ourselves into the position where one more win would have done it. Instead we lost tamely to Millwall and to Reading, both at home, then failed to beat Birmingham and Wigan. We just couldn’t haul ourselves over the line, while Luton and Barnsley – to their credit – did, and Sheff Wed – to the shame of the EFL – didn’t get a points deduction in time.
OK, it’s done. We now have to be ready to do what we can to ensure our club is in existence for next season. Those of us so long in the tooth know that the third flight is not where we belong, but it is somewhere we can – and will – escape from again. But sorting out the ownership situation is a prerequisite for any progress and that is the priority now.
Presumably Bowyer will be on his way (let’s hope not but you wouldn’t blame him). As long as he doesn’t take Jackson with him you make Jackson his successor. But just who makes such a decision is what has to be resolved first. We know that we will be there to support the return, next time in a fashion which gives us a decent platform to progress rather than trying to wing it like this season. But that's for tomorrow. Tonight we are entitled, like Bowyer and the players, to lick our wounds. Because we shared a common goal and did our best, only to be let down by those who look to make a fast buck and those who will sell to those that do. We know where the fault lies.