Robins supporter Matt Pegg breaks out the champagne as Cheltenham Town record a first win of 2014.
At long last!
As we Cheltenham fans breathe a collective sigh of relief, after winning our first league game of 2014, I return from my writing hiatus with (dare I say it!) a new found optimism. I had a great, if unoriginal title prepared in case of defeat against Newport (Don’t Rain on my Rodney Parade etc.) but fortunately, in more ways than one, it remains unused. And I genuinely believe that this valuable victory may be a turning point.
Granted, I have marched down Whaddon Road at 4.45pm, sporting a face marred with vexation all too often this season. But I have not once flinched at the jaws of relegation that have snapped at our heels over this unrelenting winter period.
Whether or not it is a healthy diversion, I am (as many of my generation are) a social media frequenter. A new age auditorium for the general public to voice their opinions without facing the wrath of face-to-face criticism, Twitter is a forum that consistently provides both fascinating and laughable insight. However, scanning through the tweets from Cheltenham fans over the last few games would put even the most jovial of gentleman into a spiral of downheartedness.
I can’t totally blame our supporters for their reactions to some abject performances over the last few fixtures (Mansfield and Accrington Stanley spring to mind). However, for a minority of fans to suggest boycotting games and asking for unrealistic overhauls at the club is incomprehensible.
Okay, so the 2013/14 season has not been as rosy (or ruby) when compared with the last two campaigns. However, in reality and as much as it hurts to say, we may have overachieved for a club of our stature. And while I really don’t intend to convey non-ambition, this season may be a more accurate reflection of our clubs standing within the football league pyramid. Especially as our team becomes less comparable to the formidable 2011/12 squad with every passing transfer window (Penn, Pack, Summerfield, Lowe, Bennett, Garbutt, Mohamed, Duffy, Goulding etc. all departing).
Another, completely uncontrollable circumstance that has certainly disrupted the fluidity of Cheltenham in 2014 has been the good ol’ British weather. By my count, 3 games have been postponed this season, with only one having been replayed. While the decidedly miserable downpour can’t be used as the sole excuse for an underwhelming season for the Robins, it has certainly been an unwelcome frustration.
With almost all Saturday’s from now until the end of the season already filled with a League 2 game in the diary, Tuesday evening kick-off’s are now the answer to the fixture congestion. I have always found these midweek games to be a hindrance for the Robins. Not only does it mean a lower attendance at the ABS, it also means a lack of recovery time between games; not an ideal addition to the already exhausting slog that is the end of season run-in.
However, with a game in hand that, if won, would move us to 10th in the table and a decent performance in South Wales on Saturday, the clouds seem to be finally parting over Mark Yates and his players. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain again.
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