"Oh mio babbino caroooooo....."
It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post after today's home defeat against Huddersfield, signalling the end for Yeovil Town's single-season foray into the second tier of English football. While it wasn't entirely unexpected as we arrived at the business end of the season, knowing that it's now all but official (we need to win our remaining two games around 7-0 and that's if Birmingham don't win their remaining games) is absolutely heart-wrenching.
I think back to that amazing day back in May last year, where thousands upon thousands of Glovers fans took over Wembley Stadium, rendering it a home game as Yeovil overturned Brentford, giving us our first ever season in the Championship.
It's been a rollercoaster ride since then. Largely written off at the start of the season by every pundit, reporter and bookies, we were never expected to be anything other than the new whipping boys of the League. Even some of our own fans, ever the pessimists, wrote us off before the season had even begun. But not me, for a change. I was optimistic for once, and I like to think we proved a few wrong over the past nine months.
We have had some cracking days along the way, visiting some world-famous stadiums and overturning some famous names in the process. Probably one of the highlights for me was the trip to Watford, where it was hard to see who were the League newcomers and who were the seasoned Championship stalwarts. The trip to Reading, where 8 man Yeovil held the Royals to a draw in an epic finale to great day out. In fact, every trip, whether we won, lost or drew was a real pleasure. Yes, getting absolutely thumped at Middlesborough and Huddersfield, and losing in the dying minutes at Derby was gutting, but visiting the iPro stadium and revisiting the Riverside and the John Smith stadium as a Championship outfit was a joy.
It's the hope that kills you though and so many times in recent weeks, we climbed out of the relegation zone, rekindling the thoughts of "what if" even in the most stubborn of fans who refused to believe survival was ever possible. Today though is the final nail in the coffin, as we failed to overturn Huddersfield and give ourselves any chance of staying up. Mathematically it's still possible but the fat lady is halfway through her finale performance.
I will be writing my final post for this blog on Friday after the Brighton game - my last farewell to this league and one last chance to enjoy being able to say with pride that I support a Championship side.
It has been a wonderful season, in spite of it's end, and I have spent it with some wonderful people. If not in person, then on Facebook and Twitter. Seeing the same old faces at away games that I saw when we were back in the Conference. We've seen nothing but success, on the whole, for many a season and for many - myself included - relegation is a new experience. And it is not a good one. We may not be back for a long time. We may bounce right back up. But believe me, we WILL be back.
You can count on it :)