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Sorry to say goodbye to the Football League
YOU know why I’m glad Saints are in the top flight again?
Because it means no more promotions – the hangover from the win over Coventry took two days to leave me in peace, and quite frankly, I can’t go through that again anytime soon.
But I have to be honest – I’m going to miss the Football League.
Everyone wants their side to be playing with the big boys. Where’s the fun in being an also ran?
Don’t get me wrong, we had some horrendous times in the lower divisions – the successful Championship relegation battle, administration, the actual Championship relegation and the ignominy of being in the first round of the FA Cup, but the good times were far better.
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley was brilliant – it wasn’t the ‘glory’ but rather the fun around it.
The stupidly good run at the end of 2010/11 which ended in promotion to the Championship and, of course, this season itself.
I honestly haven’t ever enjoyed football as much as I have done over the last three seasons.
It helps that the older I get – theoretically that means more mature – the less impact supporting Saints has on my life.
That means a loss won’t necessarily run the risk of me being single come Monday morning, for upsetting my better half with a foul mood and two-day sulk.
But at that’s not to say the highs don’t taste any less sweet.
The mood in the city last weekend was fantastic, but it lacked the same level of euphoria of the previous promotion.
Perhaps we’re all getting a bit blasé about this success, eh?
It makes me glad I’m not a Manchester United fan, for example.
The unbridled success they’ve enjoyed mustn’t taste so sweet if you can’t remember – or have never experienced – the hard times.
When we were relegated in 2005, I couldn’t imagine how things would get worse – how wrong I was.
But everything that has happened since then has made the current success all the sweeter.
I doubt being promoted in 2006 would have been as enjoyable as it was doing in 2012.
So while it’s great to be back, it’s also sad to know it’s unlikely we’ll be enjoying Saints in a title race like they’ve been this season – it was brilliant to be able to enjoy winning football week-in, week-out.
So let’s the make the most of being back in the top flight – and all the pitfalls that come with it such as weird TV kick-off times and untold amounts of glitzification (yes, I know its not a real word) of the football ‘experience’ – but it will be a while before I manage to enjoy football as I have done since we first landed in League One.
Madness? Probably, but then that's the prerogative of a football fan.
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