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Official Blog, 29.1.14

29 January 2014

Robins supporter Will Edden looks at everything in and around Cheltenham Town through the eyes of a fan.

Football is a game of small margins, and ultimately it's these small margins that dictate the game's winners and losers.

When Nick Powell swivelled superbly and smashed home an exquisite volley in the League Two 2012 Play-Off final, I feared the worst.

When Marlon Pack saw his penalty saved at home to Northampton in last seasons Play-Off semi final, most Robins fans had a nasty feeling that again, a small margin would cost us.

These little moments define football and make it the exciting spectacle that it is. But Mark Yates might feel that the tiny margins that have stopped his Cheltenham Town teams progressing over the past two seasons are catching up with the Robins. We've had false dawns, decent runs and at times we've flattered to deceive, but as we approach the final third of the season, it's become clear to must of us that we are set for mid-table mediocrity this time around.

Now obviously nobody is happy to roll over and just settle for mid-table. We all want to be knocking on the play-off door but sometimes expectations have to be managed. I always want steak for dinner, but sometimes I have to compromise and have pasta. But hey, I'd rather have pasta than have nothing.

Sometimes as loyal supporters we have to accept that a season isn't going to plan. I'm fairly certain we aren't going to get relegated – so as long as we keep our seat at the football league table for another year – I won't be too despondent. We have no divine right to be in the promotion mix every year and frankly, there are non-league sides with much larger budgets than us. (Lee Hughes scoring a brace for Forest Green last weekend anyone?)

Anyone who's been in the LMI stand recently will have heard the murmurings of discontent (I'm not saying those murmurings aren't justified), and I've seen those on social media who would be happy at the prospect of Mark Yates moving on. I'd warn those fans to be careful what they wish for. A great example of fans expectations getting the better of them is the case of Charlton Athletic. They had been promoted to the Premier League twice at the start of the millennium, and were established as a solid mid-table team. Sections of their support soon grew tired of this and criticised Alan Curbishley for not taking them to the next level. Curbishley left in 2006, Charlton were promptly relegated and they haven't been back to the top flight since.

Of course a new man could come in with fresh ideas and inject the impetus that we are perhaps lacking at the moment. But as most football fans realise, changing the manager does not guarantee instant success.

Fingers crossed that in the case of Northampton it doesn't guarantee any sort of instant success. We take on the Cobblers this Saturday who have the timely boost of new boss Chris Wilder – who's departure from Oxford has set the managerial merry go round off again and seen it begin to spin all sorts of rumours in the direction of certain League Two managers.

The visit of the Cobblers gives us a chance of revenge for last season's play-off defeat, and if nothing else, it will be nice to see us face a team who's fans are arguably more miserable than ours!

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