Longer than normal read for all those self-isolating
So coronavirus has canceled all football until April is likely to shift the euros to 2021 and even without proper government measures looks likely to see most of the country in some kind of shut down for the next month or two imposed or otherwise. It might even stop Leeds imploding but still mean they don't get promoted. Every cloud has a silver lining, an all.
However, the hiatus in football and sport, in general, should give us time to take stock, breathe and think. Local rivalries are fun but often get out of hand, sport is purely entertainment for the masses a way to let off steam and forget the rest of the world for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon but it is just a game. When faced with a crisis in which the elderly and vulnerable will die we do need to take it for what it is, a challenge to humanity as a whole. The spread of this virus has been quicker than a cheer at a broken glass down the local.
So while we all self isolate let's take a few minutes to think about what has happened at Town this season. The frantic pace of the championship often means we don't take 5 and look at the broader picture.
We started the season with a team that had a couple of its best assets stripped and an inexperienced manager at the helm. Having already lost the dressing room Jan Siewert was always going to come into the 19/20 season on the back foot, but a decent string of results pre-season gave us optimism. A new chairman at the helm rightfully trying to take some time to settle in was never going to make dramatic and sweeping changes and given the pre-season saw no need to. However, a few games in it became very clear change was needed. Credit, where it is due Big Phil, pushed Jan out and went for the Cowley brothers whos Lincoln team had beaten town only a few weeks earlier (rumour has it that game is when Phil made his decision to sack Siewert)
If anyone is in doubt about this check the form table since they came in. Without a ten-game headstart for the rest of the league town would be in the playoff places right now. Yes, you read that right. No matter how it seems when we get battered we have playoff-worthy form under Danny and Nicky. From a team that had one point after 8 games, that's not bad going.
We've seen the academy kids fill in leading to a bench with a combined age that wouldn't get you a bus pass at Charlton, with one of those aforementioned kids coming on to score an injury-time winner I'm the biblical rain of South East London.
We've seen the wantaway primadonnas dealt with, sold or loaned out to be replaced with experience and potential with the likes of Stearman, Toffolo, Smith-Rowe, and Willock, not to forget Danny Simpson and Andy King both Premier League winners. And from the ashes, we've seen some incredible performances rise and a team take shape under the brothers Cowley that I'm their day can challenge and beat most in this league.
We've also seen the maturation of Lewis O'Brien into one of the most exciting and consistent players in the championship, a rejuvenation of Steve Mounie, Karlan Grant sticking around to bang them in and some absolute screamers from Bacuna. Trevor Chabolah, Smith-Rowe, and Willock have all done rather well and we could do worse than holding onto a couple of these loanees for next term. Despite being well in the relegation scrap there has been more to be positive about than most post-defeat social media pundits would have you believe. It all bodes rather well for next season whenever that begins. As for the remainder of the 19/20 season, if it completes we are heading in the right direction and even had some cracking wins along the way, we should be safe should football resume. If it doesn’t and it’s a do-over (still a very possible outcome) we’ve done enough to justify our place in the second tier and can continue the renaissance in 20/21
Whether or not the season actually plays out, and as of writing it may not, we have been given back to us what we all want, a team we can get behind, enthusiastically sing about and of which we can be rightfully proud.
Stay safe out their wash your hands and be back ready to cheer on the mighty terriers as soon as football returns.
Till next time UTT